MV-1 van is designed specifically for wheelchair users
By Ben Coxworth
September 22, 2011
The AM General auto assembly plant in Mishawaka, Indiana is where they used to build Hummer H2s. Now, its workers are making something a little less ... controversial. It's a van called the MV-1, MV standing for "Mobility Vehicle," and it's designed specifically for wheelchair-using passengers. Its designers claim that it is better suited to the handicapped than converted conventional vans, and the first factory-built model rolled off the assembly line yesterday.
A product of Miami's Vehicle Production Group, the MV-1 has a large 56 x 36-inch (142 x 91 cm) side door, and a 1,200 pound (544 kg)-capacity deployable ramp that stows under the floor when not in use. It can accommodate two wheelchair-using passengers, or one wheelchair and five additional traditionally-seated occupants, if the optional jump seat is used. Floor tracks are used to secure wheelchairs and scooters. The non-handicapped driver sits behind the wheel in a regular-style seat - perhaps future versions could allow wheelchair users to also drive, using something like RUVID's hand control device?
The vehicle is based around a body-on-frame configuration, and is powered by a Ford 4.6L 2V EFI V8 engine with an electronic four-speed automatic transmission. For the energy and/or environmentally-conscious, however, a factory-installed Compressed Natural Gas fuel system is also available. Vans with the CNG system should have a driving range of approximately 290 miles (466.7 km).
More specs and other information can be found on the MV-1 website, where vehicles can also be ordered. The base SE model is priced at US$39,950, for American customers only.
The following video illustrates how the van accommodates wheelchair-using passengers.