The Vehicle Production Group (VPG) has unveiled the first commercially produced car designed and built specifically for wheelchair users. The MV-1 rolled off the production at contracted manufacturer AM General's production facility in Indiana on the 21st September, 2011.
Assembled at the same factory where AM General produced the HUMMER H2 for General Motors, the MV-1 features a chassis engineered by Roush, a 4.6L 2V EFI V8 Ford engine and a four-speed automatic transmission. Access to the vehicle is by a 56-inch high by 36-inch wide side door with a deployable ramp capable of dealing with 1200 pounds of weight. Alongside the wheelchair user, the MV-1 can also carry five additional occupants when fitted with an optional rear facing seat.
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Fred Drasner, Chairman of VPG, said: "We are proud to be the first automobile manufacturer to provide a person with mobility issues a vehicle that meets all relevant Federal safety and crash test standards and is designed and built to meet their special requirements; ease of entry and exit, an exceptional ride, state of the art technology, unprecedented reliability, quality and durability and an OEM factory warranty.”
Whereas modified regular vehicles cost around $55,000, the MV-1 comes in at $40,000. It is estimated that 3.3 million Americans aged 15 and over use wheelchairs. VPG's latest vehicle will be sold through more than 40 existing US dealerships.