Wheelchair Power Assist and Propulsion Add On Systems

By Ziggi Landsman


Find new mobility by powering up or muscling up your manual wheelchair. Here is a round-up of wheelchair power assist and propulsion assist devices that can help you with your daily hump.  Some of these devices turn your manual wheelchair into a hybrid powered wheelchair, while others supplement good old muscle power by harnessing kinetic energy. No doubt I have missed a few items that are out there, but this should get you started.  Keep in mind that many of these systems will not fit on all manual wheelchairs so be sure to check the specs. In the meantime, drool on friend.


Swiss Trac

Looking like a manual wheelchair mated with a runty lawn tractor, Swiss Trac claims to “go to places you could only dream of, and enjoy a new feeling of freedom. As a product of Switzerland it meets the highest safety standards.”


Frank Mobility Systems E-Motion

One of the standards in the wheelchair power assist market, the E-Motion is a motor in the hub add-on to manual wheelchairs that is controlled by manipulating the wheel push-rims.


Frank Mobility Systems E-Fix

Similar to older brother E-Motion, E-Fix offers users a more conventional means of controlling the power add on system by the addition of a conventional wheelchair joystick controller.


Golden Motor Hub Power Assist Kit

This one is for the do-it-yourselfer. Golden Motor sells all of the parts that you would need to build your own wheelchair power assist add-on system. If you are into projects, this may be the way to find that new mobility that you crave.



MAGICWHEELS are wheelchair wheels with a geared hub that provides a 2:1 mechanical advantage and an automatic hill-holder. What this means is they take your muscle power and amplify it while adding a handy hill-holder (no roll back) technology for climbing hills, ramps, curb cuts, or door thresholds. Unlike power assist wheels, MAGICWHEELS 2-gear wheelchair wheels have no batteries and no motors.


Max Mobility SmartDrive

SmartDrive is a powered fifth wheel for your manual wheelchair that tags along near the back of your wheelchair’s undercarriage and kicks in when you need a boost.


Motive Power Assist Engine

Here is a twist toward the cool. Motive has developed a wheelchair power assist that utilizes a 50cc Honda type engine with electric start and auto-transmission. This streetbike, I mean power system, will definitely help you find your new mobility. Just be sure to hang on.



The Nordigo is a lever propulsion system for wheelchairs, the system includes independent drive and braking for each wheel. The brakes can be locked permanently as a parking brake.



NuDrive is a propulsion accessory for manual wheelchairs, providing more independence and improving physical well-being. According to Nudrive, adding the system to your wheelchair can result in 40% reduction in power required to push the chair.


Rio Mobility e-Dragonfly

The eDragonfly™ is a motor power assist handcycle that attaches to your wheelchair. More power when you need it and looks that make you wonder if one of its parents was a chopper.


Rio Mobility Pivot Lever Drive

Back to muscle and kinetic energy by hooking up to this wheelchair propulsion device. The natural propulsion of a lever drive can amplify your effort. Go fast on the flats or climb hills with 5 speeds to choose from.


Tzora Active Systems Electric Power Drive -6

Here’s an interesting power assist system that adds two tandem powered wheels to the back of your manual wheelchair. According to the manufacturer: “The electric Power Drive-6 attaches to any manual wheelchair in seconds and takes on the chore of pushing the chair. Powerful enough for steep inclines and long range hauls, the PD-6 is extremely lightweight, easy to handle, easy to attach and detach. It’s ideal for transportation in the trunk of a car.”


Wijit Lever Driving and Braking System

The Wijit a wheel with a lever drive, gears, and brakes that replaces the wheels on a manual wheelchair. It can be installed on most manual wheelchairs. The Wijit has superior ergonomics compared to a conventional push-rim wheelchair. With the Wijit you can drive, steer and stop your chair from a comfortable, upright position.


Personally, if I were picking one of these mobility revivers out it would probably be the Swiss Trac or the Motive Assist Engine. But don’t go by me, I picked those because they look cool. Whatever your wheelchair needs are, be they power assists or full blown powered wheelchairs, go for it. Find a way to make it happen. Nothing beats improved mobility and independence.  If your road to finding your new mobility is being blocked by the fun folks at Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance companies, you may want to look at making some noise to get things changed. Consider joining with the growing gang of dissidents at UsersFirst.