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A vehicle for wheelchair users


A small US based company finally gets a loan to build vehicles specifically for wheelchair users instead of modifying existing ones. So now, when we get those posts asking us how they can accommodate their wheelchair bound friend/relative around, we can point them to these guys.

The MV-1 features a deployable access ramp with a 1,200-pound weight capacity and has a 36-inch entryway. It can accommodate up to six occupants with an optional jump seat, including one or two wheelchair passengers and the driver.

“This project represents an investment in innovation that will create new jobs, promote the use of alternative fuels, and help our nation maintain its competitive edge in the automotive industry,” U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.


It’s a good idea, but they have some work to do to make it accessible to more people. I couldn’t find any option for hand controls or electronic steering (joystick). I couldn’t even find an option for power tiedowns at the driver position so that you could drive from your wheelchair. The front seat should also be able to slide back to the second position, for transfers.

The underfloor ramp storage is a neat idea, but as was discovered with conventional modified vehicles, is problematic in snow states because you end up dragging snow and salt into the ramp storage box. Eventually it either gets jammed with ice or, over a longer period of time, rusts badly as a result. They’ll need to come up with a way to clean that box easily.

Handicap and mobility needs are as varied and different as there are people.
No one can anticipate all the probabilities in one vehicle but perhaps with all these ideas of ours they might make it more ‘modification ready’ than others. Much more “plug and play” type so that one’s individual needs can be met by going down a menu and picking out your mods.

I’m sure they’ll have more options as time goes on. They probably will have a menu of dozens of options one can get like the hand controls or having the driver’s seat gone completely to allow the driver to remain in their wheelchair and have some kind of advanced locking mechanism to keep the chair from moving about.
I’m pretty sure they’d have some kind of ramp that’s stored inside the body of the car, instead of under it, and it folds/slides out when the door is opened.

You might consider the Ford Transit Connect, which has two sliding side doors and a lot of headroom.

Not really looking for one, I had actually meant for this post to be made in the GD area instead.