Vehicle Developments Will Mean More Choices for Disabled Drivers in the Future
It was only a matter of time. The truck conversion by GoShichi, now Mobility SVM, kick-started the mobility van industry into looking at production models of pickup trucks. But there were no SUV options being offered. Until now.
With only a handful of viable minivan options to choose from for wheelchair accessibility, and a growing trend in the automotive sector for people wanting to drive SUVs and Cross-Overs, one of the large converters was bound to come along with an SUV option. The Ford Explorer concept vehicle recently announced by BraunAbility and West Coast Customs, with financial aid from Schmidt Motorsports, may be just the start of a growing trend in vehicles being available for people who want something other than a van. Despite significant design upgrades to the minivan in the last decade, for some people the "soccer mom" stigma still exists.
"We wanted to radically change how people think about mobility vehicles. This fantastic mobility concept SUV is mission accomplished," said Sam Schmidt, co-owner of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Mobility vehicles require a lot of engineering and testing before they can become available to the public. Economically, the chassis make and model needs to have a solid history of being a reliable, attractive and affordable option for a converter to make the kind of investment necessary to make that happen. For BraunAbility, the Ford Explorer answers the call on all three points. But that’s just the start. The concept vehicle was more than a year in the making, with much more work to do to make it "assembly-line" ready. For now, there has been no announcement on when the Explorer will actually go into production. But it will happen and someday soon.
We are in for an exciting time as more chassis become available. Perhaps it will be the Range Rover or Chevy Tahoe – or something totally unexpected like the Nissan Pathfinder. In either case, it’s a positive sign that the industry is evolving, adding more choices for wheelchair drivers and passengers. As the largest dealer in the United States of BraunAbility wheelchair vans, MobilityWorks is very excited about what the future may hold for our clients. Congratulations to our business partner BraunAbility and to Sam Schmidt for their dedication to our industry and the people we serve.