First-Ever Wheelchair-Accessible Car Unveiled

For people who use wheelchairs to get around, this may mean an end to sitting in the back seats of conversion vans when it’s time to hit the road.

Yesterday, automakers unveiled the MV-1, which they says is the first production vehicle ever made specifically with the intent of having passengers in wheelchairs.

The first MV-1was presented to Marc Buoniconti, President of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, and son of NFL great Nick Buoniconti.

“I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing some 360′s and sitting in the front passenger seat to get the view everybody else gets,” Marc told CBS Miami. “I know what an important difference this vehicle will make to my own life… the MV-1 will literally transform daily life for wheelchair users and those who care for them, by making it easier to live a freer, more independent life.”

Prices for the MV-1 start at around $40,000, which CBS Miami says is about $20,000 less than the cost of a conversion van. Makers of the vehicle say they have received orders for about 5,000 so far.

Marc Buoniconti Unveils First Wheelchair-Accessible Car [CBSlocal.com]

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  1. shepd says:

    That looks a lot more like a van than a car. And I wonder if this company is really making the vehicle from scratch rather than buying one and converting it to their standards.

    That all being said, good job on making the cost that much more reasonable! I doubt anyone buying one really cares if it’s really a conversion or not. They just know they good a better price on something done right.

  2. pop top says:

    Before anyone says that there are cars out there that already do this, there aren’t. You have to do thousands of dollars worth of work to a van to make it wheelchair-accessible, and that’s not including what you have to do to make the driver’s area wheelchair-friendly.

  3. Coffee Fiend says:

    They wheely want your business, so they asking you to buy one, pretty please with chairy on top.

  4. Dapper Dan says:

    It’s sad that we haven’t had something like this available to the mass public already.

  5. Coffee says:

    Cool! I wonder if it has a little joystick instead of a steering wheel.

  6. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Please someone correct me, but is it meant for a handi-capable to drive? Or just sit in the front seat? Because I can not seem to wrap my head around how this guy could safely drive a car in public if he only has the use of his head/neck.

    • Anathema777 says:

      “It allows a person in a wheelchair to use a built-in ramp to get in alone and sit next to the driver, with room for three passengers in back.”

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I think it’s meant for people in wheelchairs to be a passenger, not to drive. From the article: “It allows a person in a wheelchair to use a built-in ramp to get in alone and sit next to the driver, with room for three passengers in back.”

    • Tunnen says:

      You can modify a vehicle to allow a driver to operate the vehicle without use of legs. I had a really nice customer when I work in a retail computer store. He had both his legs amputated in an accident, but he was fully able to get around in his wheel chair but then go up to his, I think it was a Ford F-150, truck and pull himself up and into the cab and throw his wheelchair in the back of the truck. Up until the time I saw him get into his own truck, I always assumed he was driven there by someone else.

      • Coffee says:

        These driving systems have been around forever…my grandfather was paralyzed from polio, and he drove around using hand pedals in the 1980s.

      • Dave on bass says:

        I know a guy who does the same thing, throwing his wheelchair in the back of the truck as he pulls himself into the cab.. He’s got his legs, but they’re paralyzed.

  7. H3ion says:

    Granted, they’re not production vehicles, but I know two people, one paralyzed from the waist down and one from the chest down, who both use wheel chairs exclusively to get around. Both have Chrysler-based vans with hand controls and they can wheel into the driver’s position, lock the wheelchair in place, and drive. This model looks like it is designed for passengers rather than drivers in wheel chairs and probably would be cheaper just for that reason. The controls wouldn’t have to be modified.

  8. icntdrv says:

    Actually, there have been wheelchair accessible cars. The PT Cruiser, Scion Xb, and Honda Element (I know its a stretch, but go with me here) are frequently converted for wheelchair use. The upside here is that by designing and manufacturing an accessible vehicle from the outset they are (in theory) able to cut the costs of parts and labor. The downside is that most people with mobility impairments do not want a vehicle that singles them out as disabled when unnecessary.

  9. momtimestwo says:

    My brother has MD and is in a wheel chair, this would be great for him because now his wife has to carry him from car to scooter and back. But $40k is way out of reach for a family with 1 income, and he can’t work. But maybe the prices will get lower one day.

    • icntdrv says:

      Wheelchair accessible vans depreciate sharply. Browsing Craigslist and eBay Motors for the keyword “wheelchair” will show up many accessible vans for a steep discount.

  10. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Does it go faster than 10mph under the speed limit?

  11. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    It would be cool if they could take a car similar to a smart car and make it so you just attach the wheelchair in there – or like the Urkel car :)

  12. MikeHerbst says:

    The whole “why sit it in the back seat?” thing is a bit of a red herring. Conversion vans have let wheelchair bound (and others with limited mobility such as single-leg amputees) *DRIVE* the vehicle for years.

    Heck, Disabled Explorers (a nonprofit) has a 4WD expedition van that they take DEEP offroad specifically with the idea of getting disabled folks into the sport. When you go on a DE trip, they hand you the keys and tell you to “get going”.

    http://www.sportsmobile.com/4_4x4wave.html

    Yes, I understand the difference between having a purpose-built vehicle versus a conversion, and this is a GOOD thing, I just bristle at the idea that up until now wheelchair users were “just passengers”.

  13. angus1357 says:

    I work for a company who has been doing this to mini-vans since the early 90’s. The only thing that makes this different is that it is PURPOSE built. Our company sold scions at one point and they werent that big of a seller. We offer ADA compliant vehicles as well. Whats the difference between an SUV and a mini van? In our conversion Both driver and passenger seats are removable while still maintaining OEM airbag deployment strategies. It’ll be interesting to see if they change models every 4-5 years like current OEM manufacturers do or if the product will sit there and get stagnant.

  14. George4478 says:

    We just let Grandma drive her Mobility Scooter into the pickup’s bed and hold onto the rollbar. No modifications required.

    Except for winter and thunderstorms, it’s a win-win.

  15. Geekybiker says:

    This is made by AM general- The company that makes the hummer. Probably a factory modified h2 or h3 platform.

    • MrEvil says:

      It’s not, the H2 and H3 are built on platforms built by GM, AM general had nothing to do with the development and design on the H2 and H3. Also, the MV1 is only manufactured by AM General, the MV1 is designed and marketed by another company VPG. To top it all off the MV1 is powered by a Ford 4.6L V8.

      Actually the MV1 has the SAME drive train as the now discontinued Ford Panther platform (Crown Vic, Town Car, Grand Marquis). Wouldn’t surprise me if the front suspension happens to be Panther left-overs as well.

      • Geekybiker says:

        Either way, its a parts bin car. No way it was developed from the ground up for such a small market.

  16. AllanG54 says:

    I used to have a client that used a wheelchair to get into his van but for quite a while he was able to DRIVE it using hand controls. I wonder if buyers of this vehicle would be able to do that as well.

  17. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    MV-1 website:
    http://www.vpgautos.com/

  18. LanMan04 says:

    Didn’t Johnny 5 invent that back in the 80s?

  19. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Manufacturer – in Indiana.
    http://www.amgeneral.com/

  20. Lexasaurus says:

    I don’t see that it’s so great–you’re still a *passenger*. Real independence would be if they fitted it with hand controls so the many people using wheelchairs who have use of their hands could drive it themselves. Like it or not, the way this country is set up, driving is a big component of independence.

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I was really hoping this was wheelchair accesible for those who can actually drive. Some wheelchair-bound individuals can still actually use the pedals (cerebral palsy for one) but the pain of getting the wheelchair in the van and then hobbling over to the driver’s seat is significant.

  22. drunkenwildmage says:

    We have a mid 2000s Chrysler Town and Country With Braun Entervan conversion on it, and just looking at what I saw with this, I would still would go with the van..I don’t really see any reason to go with this “Purpose built” system car over the mini van.. With the van, the disabled person can still drive it (with hand controls).. with this.. that doesn’t look like to be an option.

  23. dosdelon says:

    This could also have other uses too. It would make moving furniture and taking a large dog with hip problems to the vet much easier.

  24. tiredofit says:

    I’ve seen one before. And it was small enough that it fit on a subway.

  25. tiredofit says:
  26. ecwis says:

    For a blog that claims they “don’t take ads,” you sure embed a lot of videos with ads.

  27. OnePumpChump says:

    For those who can (and choose to…seriously, WTF paraplegics in electric wheelchairs?) freely use their arms, EVERY car is wheelchair accessible. You just pull the chair next to the driver’s seat, hop out of the chair and into the seat, pop the wheels off and toss it all into the passenger or back seat.

    My dad prefers coupes, because they’re easier to transfer into, but can drive a sedan without much trouble.

    I saw a dude transfer from his wheelchair into a lifted F350 once. It was an incredible feat of athleticism.

  28. weave says:

    Looks like it’d make a good wheelchair accessible taxi too. The seats are set back and the forward portion could be used for luggage when a wheelchair user is not on board.

  29. OnePumpChump says:

    Channel 4, the CBS affiliate for Uncanny Valley.

    Jesus christ the makeup.

  30. dneul says:

    This is all well and good but what some people fail to think of is the fact that some wheelchairs are not designed to be transported in. There are wheelchairs that meet the fmvss (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) but most do not. I would not want to transport someone in the front seat in one of these scooters/ motorized wheelchairs because of the weight and size. It could cause many injuries and possibly death in a crash.

    http://www.rercwts.pitt.edu/WC19.html

  31. Anna Kossua says:

    Definitely not the first. There is one people can get in England that’s been around a few decades. Unfortunately I don’t know the name.

    I saw it in a short film that was shown on PBS a couple months ago about a woman who had one. The woman has MS and had driven the car for years, but needed a new car. It followed her getting something more like a van, and her trying to find a new home for the old car.

    Whatever the car was, they were all built for people that use wheelchairs. It had joystick for the controls, and the door is in the back; you just wheel in through the back. I wish I could remember its name, because it was really cute!