Lexus has teamed up with the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (CPF) to create a one-of-a-king ride-on vehicle inspired by children with cerebral palsey. The automaker says that the untraditional vehicle combines Lexus’s “human-centric design philosophy with CPF’s mission of improving the lives of people with cerebral palsy and opening up the world of possibilities.
The special ride-on vehicle was presented to its recipient Finley Smallwood earlier this month, which is designated National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.
The play car has been modified to allow Smallwood to enjoy play in a way that doesn’t restrict her.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.
“People with cerebral palsy rarely get the interventions and support they need at the moments they need them,” said Rachel Byrne, CPF executive director. “Our mission is to shift that paradigm and be a catalyst for creating positive change through innovative collaborations and partnerships.”
For children with cerebral palsy, one of the greatest challenges is being able to participate in their environment and play as other children do. Many children with cerebral palsy don’t have the strength to be able to hold and turn a steering wheel consistently for a given period of time, and mobility challenges can make using a foot pedal impossible. Smallwood has difficulty sitting for long periods of time.
“At Lexus, our core design philosophy has always been human-centric,” said Cooper Ericksen, Lexus group vice president, product planning & strategy. “We create vehicles around the art and science of human needs. In this case, we wanted to push the envelope and explore what that might mean for a child with cerebral palsy who hasn’t been able to experience the joy of mobility like other children have.”
Smallwood’s custom crafted vehicle includes modifications to the seat, with additional side padding for lateral support around her waist along with an adjustable headrest and a five-point harness. Her customized ride-on car also includes increased door size and reduced ground clearance to allow for ease of entry and exit.
A team of Lexus engineers worked on the project.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.
There’s an armrest joystick that allows Smallwood the ability to control the direction and acceleration of the vehicle without the need for foot pedals or holding a steering wheel for an extended period of time.
“Oh, and we painted the body of the car purple,” said Ericksen. “Because that’s Finley’s favorite color.”
The project was in partnership with Givewith. You can learn more about Smallwood’s story here.