VPG MV-1: Super Wheels for those with Wheels

vpg mv1 side open

In the case of many people in the developed world, the automobile serves a definitive purpose fulfilling our everyday needs. However, when the current run-of-the-mill automobiles fail to deliver the mobility in special cases, fluid automotive innovation and understanding comes to life.

Giving wheelchair-bound individuals more reach, vans of the mini as well as full-sized variety are converted to meet the needs of these specific passengers. Since typical passenger vans are engineered to cater the vast walking population, a great deal of refitting is required outside of an automotive OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) in making the vehicle suitable for transporting the mobility-challenged. Offering customers of new wheelchair accessible vehicles a dedicated and quality source, Southern Florida-based Vehicle Production Group (VPG) have engineered their MV-1 to a current production-ready special mobility solution.

To be built in the United States by AM General (assembled within the Indiana state vicinity close to the military Humvees and the now-discontinued Hummer H2), the VPG MV-1 is purpose-built to accommodate the needs of the wheelchair passenger. Resembling a mix of a British-style taxi cab, a Honda Element and General Motor’s last generation minivan, the MV-1 merges as a rather smart-looking vehicle. A rarity to even find crossover, sport utility vehicles or minivans employing body-on-frame construction in this modern age of motoring, the MV-1 promotes durability for years to come. Merging of the unique 205-inch long van-like exterior, the VPG MV-1 design is intentionally utilitarian.

vpg mv1 front close

A vehicle built with guidance from the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the main emphasis on the MV-1’s outer shell is to promote ease of cabin ingress and exit for the mobility-challenged. Exterior door handles are maintained at a low level to be reachable by a person in a seated position. Gaining entry through the right-rear passenger door, the 36-inch by 56-inch entrance is aided by the door hinging. Swinging open to a 90 degree position, a wheelchair or scooter ride up into the MV-1 with the use of an integrated access ramp. As the 1,200 pound-rated access ramp tucks discreetly under the interior floor, a power-actuated ramp can also be opted. The power access ramp feature adjustments that compensate for entry and exit over a sidewalk or when a tight angle entrance is needed.

As a wheelchair or powered-shooter climbs into the VPG MV-1, the mobility-challenged passenger is given spacious clearance to the location of the front passenger. A special aspect of the MV-1 interior design allows the wheeled passenger to ride beside the driver. The Q’Straint® compatible restraint system anchors the wheelchair or scooter securely ahead of travel.

vpg mv1 interior dash

In addition to the wheeled passenger, up to 5 occupants can be seated comfortably inside the VPG MV-1’s cabin. The driver rides in a commercial grade front seat while a rear bench seat and an optional reverse-facing jumpseat brings the total passenger compliment to 6 inside the vehicle. Power windows, mirrors as well as cruise control is standard equipment on the VPG MV-1 to create an enjoyable trip.

An independent specialty auto company, VPG elects for a tried and true MV-1 powertrain supplied by the Ford Motor Company. Powered by Ford’s 4.6 liter V8 engine used presently on the E-Series vans, an estimated force of between 225-250 horsepower and over 280 pounds-feet of torque should be amply-fed through a 4-speed automatic transmission. Powered regularly by gasoline, VPG offers an optional chance to kick dependence on gasoline. Factory-installed Compressed Natural Gas provides up to a 290-mile cruising range while burning 29% fewer greenhouse gases than standard gasoline engines. Furnishing safety, four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes and Electronic Stability Control are standard on the MV-1.

Final price is yet to be made official but VPG has hinted at the MV-1 retailing for less than $40,000 when it’s expected to be released in 2011. Competitively-tagged with other conversion vans, VPG aims for personal as well as business customers planning to install dignity and mobility for all.

Information Source: Vehicle Production Group
Photo Source: Chris Nagy

  1. Chris – nice article.

    The VPG website doesn’t indicate a HP/Torque figure, but the Crown Victoria/Econoline version of the 4.6l V8 doesn’t have a rating anywhere near what is stated in the article. I’m sure if you contact VPG they will tell you what version they have – probably around 250 hp.

    Liz McGrath from VPG sent your article out, so she would be a good source to correct/update your article.

    1. I admit I goofed. For some reason, I was looking at old (very old) information based on the high ouput 4-valve 4.6 liter powerplant. To be fair, I did say estimated power but it was out of skew.

      I've made an appropriate correction.

  2. If you require any information please do not hesitate to contact Liz @ Head Office or myself, Nick Grande. My number is also available on our website http://www.vpgautos.com

    Please note that Ford supplied parts to our wonderful solution however is not affiliated to our company nor is Don Yegan.

  3. Chris, I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you for the article written. You did a wonderful job and explained the principles and purpose of our mobility solution.

    You captured the essence of the vehicle and the Georgian Auto Show was a major success.

    I look forward to speaking with you in the near future.

  4. Nick, I'm not sure why you seem to like telling people that I am not with VPG as I am not making any statements that I am. I simply pointed out that the HP figure was not correct and where Chris could go for the correct information.

    Can't some post something in a blog or forum without you piping in and saying people aren't with the company?

    Why don't you just say what the HP is since it is your company so that Chris can include the correct number?

  5. How is it that this vehicle didn't make it to the final group of contestants for NY's Taxi of Tomorrow? Would seem to have all the requisite bells and whistles – more so than any of the 3 finalists. Was it the lack of security divider for driver? Too much HP (limited to 220 by TLC parameters)? Or just that NY wanted it's own unique 'branded' design and VPG didn't want to retool for this market?

  6. Can the MV-1 be driven by a disabled driver with hand controls? Is there a swivel driver's seat option to allow a wheelchair user to transfer from their wheelchair into the driver's seat?

    1. Susan – The MV-1 was designed to be driven by an abled person taking disabled passengers for a ride. Hand controls could be adapted to the vehicle just like they are on minivans today after you purchase it. Unless something has changed recently, there is no factory option for a swivel driver's seat. Maybe the MV-1 employees or Nick Grande can help to answer your questions further.

  7. It is a sweet looking car to say the least. I will be interested to see if they come out with a version already designed for a disabled driver.

  8. I have owned a MV-1 for about a year now and really like it. One thing scooter people should know is you can’t turn a scooter around inside the vehicle so you have to drive in and back out. It would really be nice if more accessories were available for this vehicle. It would also be nice if VPG offered a swivel seat for the driver and a more comfortable seat too. I use a scooter and can walk a little so the vehicle has given me a lot more independense and have gotten used to driving the scooter in, leaving it in front of the rear seat, stepping over to the drivers seat and then upon exiting, backing the scooter out of the vehicle, but they should add a safety plate to the top of the ramp so you can’t back out of the vehicle without putting down the ramp.

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