A new car company, Miami-based Vehicle Production Group, has emerged, with its first offering being the MV-1, a car completely designed with disabled persons in mind. Instead of past vehicles that have been modified to accommodate the disabled, the MV-1 has actually been designed using the Americans with Disabilities Act as a guide from the start.
The new vehicle is considered the first to be specifically designed for those with disabilities. Some features in the vehicle that have been designed to accommodate disabled persons include:
• A sliding door that allows more room and maneuverability than a door that opens out
• A ramp that has been built into the vehicle
• Wheelchair restraints that have been built into the vehicle
In the past, these features have been available in vehicles, but only as aftermarket modifications to existing vehicles.
The MV-1, which stands for “Mobility Vehicle One”, will be manufactured by AM General in its Mishawaka, Indiana plant. The vehicle was originally designed as a commercial vehicle that would allow taxi drivers and public transportation outlets to offer vehicles to transport disabled customers, but has since been revamped to be sold as a consumer vehicle for personal use. Vehicle Production Group worked on the design for four years with financial backing from venture capital firm Perseus before revealing the final product.
There are approximately 10 million disabled persons in the United States that require a modified vehicle, with 4 million in a wheelchair. Citing the 1.5 million modified vehicles on the road today and the need for more of such vehicles, Vehicle Production Group hopes to sell 12,000 of their MV-1 model in 2012.
The MV-1 is currently offered for sale at a limited number of dealerships across the country, with an MSRP of $39,950. According to the Vehicle Production Group, this is twenty percent less than aftermarket modified vehicles.
Although the model does not offer hand controls, it is an aftermarket modification that is available. With the look and handling of an SUV and the accommodations of a full size van, the MV-1 allows disabled persons to purchase a vehicle without requiring aftermarket modifications.