American Automaker VPG Debuts First Purpose-Built Wheelchair Accessible Car
With 1.5 million converted vehicles in operation in the US, VPG is hoping their ground up design is better suited to meet the transportation needs of disabled passengers.
To coincide with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), new American automaker Vehicle Production Group (VPG) unveiled the first designed, engineered and factory-built, wheelchair accessible car. Called the MV-1, the vehicle intends to make traveling by car easier for 14 million American adults who use wheelchairs or rely on other mobility devices.
The 2011 MV-1 was created using the principles of Universal Design which aim to create common levels of usability between disabled and non-disabled people. Previously, vehicles had to go through special modifications for the installation of ramps and a reconfiguring of the interiors to provide extra space. The MV-1 features a deploy-able ramp on the passenger side and an over-sized door for easy access. Traditionally with vehicle conversions, disabled passengers had to sit in the back. The MV-1 provides ample interior space for a wheelchair or scooter to turn allowing the user to ride next to the driver in the front.
Standard power for the MV-1 comes from a Ford V8 engine. But VPG is offering a factory installed Compressed Natural Gas powered clean energy option.
Exterior styling of the MV-1 is clean and has some characteristics of the previous generation Honda Element. The interior seats five people and there is an option to add a rear facing jump seat behind the driver to increase the total to six passengers.
Production of the MV-1 will start later this year. The vehicle will be assembled in Mishawaka, Indiana.