Have you ever ridden in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle? Ever seen one up close? Most vehicles of this type are minivans that have been converted to accommodate equipment for the transportation of wheelchair users. However, VPG, a company based out of South Florida, produces a purpose-built vehicle for wheelchair users.
The company held a press conference at the 2012 New York Auto Show and touted the merits of its MV-1. Besides the fact that it uses a 4.6-liter V8 and 4-speed automatic transmission provided by Ford, a rear axle lifted from the Camaro, and a few other off-the-shelf components, the MV-1 was designed from the ground up to satisfy the needs of handicapped individuals.
During the company’s press conference, representatives demonstrated the use of the car’s electrically operated ramp (see video). The ramp deploys from under the floor in less than 18 seconds. It can be extended to two different lengths.
I find it encouraging that a company identified the need in the marketplace for such a vehicle and developed one with attention to a wheelchair user’s unique needs. It is being marketed not only to private buyers but to taxi and livery fleets as well. Keep your eyes peeled.
You might spy one of these in a taxi or livery service around your area. My fellow editors and I have spied a few on the streets of suburban Chicago painted with the logos of local taxi companies.