As July 4 approaches, it's probably a good idea for Americans to take a step back and consider what their country is really about. Freedom? Sure, but it's also about mobility: social, economic, and physical. For people with disabilities, that last one can be difficult to achieve, but the Miami, Florida-based Vehicle Production Group aims to change that with a new ride called the MV-1.
Over the years, we've seen a few nifty solutions to the problem of wheelchair access. More often than not, however, they've looked like afterthoughts -- occasionally elegant, but still afterthoughts. According to VPG, however, the MV-1:
"is not a converted van or other aftermarket product, which is generally more costly, not engineered for this purpose, and does not carry a factory warranty. Instead, the MV-1 is a vehicle that has been engineered, designed and built from the ground up to accommodate wheelchair accessibility and overall ease of entry and exit, as well as provide a comfortable ride."
The MV-1 began as the Standard Taxi, which was unveiled at the 2007 New York Auto Show. Since then, VPG has gathered a lot of feedback, moved its headquarters from Troy, Michigan to Miami (hey, follow the demographic, right?), reworked the ride, and renamed it the MV-1. The final product is fully ADA-compliant, with an access ramp rated to 1,200 pounds, a 36"-wide entry door, and room for six.
On the powertrain front, there are two options. The more common will be the 4.6-liter V8 Ford engine, but VPG does offer a somewhat surprising Compressed Natural Gas system as an alternative for the green-minded.
We haven't been invited on a test drive yet (hint hint), but VPG's website looks as good as many we've seen. Perhaps we'll get some up-close-and-personal time during the MV-1's nationwide tour, which kicked off in Philadelphia last weekend and continues through September. If not, we'll have to wait until the final quarter of 2010, when the MV-1 finally starts rolling onto lots (though distribution details have yet to be announced). Pricing for the base model will begin around $40,000, with tax credits available for CNG models.
Watch the two videos below for more info about the MV-1, and if your interest is piqued, check out VPG's full press release, which has more details about the tour.
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The Vehicle Production Group Announces Public Debut of the First Factory-Built Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle
THE MV-1 WHEELS ACROSS AMERICA TOUR to Visit 27 Cities
MIAMI, June 28 -- MIAMI, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- For the more than 14 million Americans who must use wheelchairs, crutches, canes, walkers or other mobility devices, routine activities such as traveling in a vehicle present a significant obstacle in their daily lives. These individuals, as well as caregivers, paratransit fleet operators, and all consumers, will soon have an opportunity to experience the first factory-built wheelchair accessible vehicle, aptly named the MV-1 for the "first Mobility Vehicle." The MV-1 is not a converted van or other aftermarket product, which is generally more costly, not engineered for this purpose, and does not carry a factory warranty. Instead, the MV-1 is a vehicle that has been engineered, designed and built from the ground up to accommodate wheelchair accessibility and overall ease of entry and exit, as well as provide a comfortable ride.
The Vehicle Production Group (VPG), a new American car company and manufacturer of the MV-1, is launching a national road show, The MV-1 Wheels Across America Tour on June 28, in Philadelphia, to introduce the revolutionary MV-1. The tour will provide interested consumers with a hands-on experience, allowing them to interact with the MV-1 and VPG product specialists. The 27-city tour will make stops at rehabilitation centers, assisted living properties, hospitals, as well as retail outlets and lifestyle centers, through September.