A cool new car for wheelchair users — thanks, Stacy and Istvan!

By Caitlin Kelly

I love this story!

A stubborn young women, Stacy Zoern, 33, lives alone in Austin, Texas. A lawyer, she’s sick of never having her independence, as she has been in a wheelchair since birth and totalled her $80,000 customized van.

She Googles the words “electric neighborhood vehicle” and finds a company in Budapest, Hungary, called Kenguru.

Hungary: visa and stamps
Hungary: visa and stamps (Photo credit: Sem Paradeiro)

Her emails go unanswered. She calls — and finds a man there who was educated in the States and who speaks perfect English. She persuades him he must help her make these cars. He moves to Texas with his family. One of her neighbors is a former Wall Street guy — who lends this new company half a million dollars.

She has no business experience, just the absolute determination there is a need for this product, one she has wanted for years; she estimates a potential market of 3.3 million.

The vehicles are now being made in Florida and will be for sale within months.

Journalists are supposed to be cool, detached, objective. The hell with that! I absolutely admire Stacy and Istvan’s unlikely collaboration and hope they have tremendous success with their venture.

Here’s the whole thing, my piece in today’s New York Times.