Thursday, November 25, 2010

Company receives $50 million from U.S. Dept. of Energy to build vehicle specifically for wheelchair users

From emgCarTech:

Vehicle Production Group LLC (yes, it’s a very creative name) has received a $50 million conditional loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to build a vehicle that is specifically design for wheelchair users. Known as the MV-1, the vehicle is designed for individual wheelchair users and uses a Ford 4.6L V8 that can run on gas or compressed natural gas.

“With this conditional commitment, the Department of Energy has demonstrated its confidence in our program and the impact that it will have in transforming a significant portion of U.S. light duty fleets to clean-burning, natural gas vehicles,” said the company’s boss David Schembri, who was previously president of Smart USA.

VPG has plans to build more than 24,000 units a year under a contract with AM General in Mishawaka, Ind. – production is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2011 with more than 900 workers involved in the project.

“This project represents an investment in innovation that will create new jobs, promote the use of alternative fuels, and help our nation maintain its competitive edge in the automotive industry,” said Secretary Chu. “It is part of a broad effort to reclaim America’s leadership in auto manufacturing – ensuring that our workers are producing the best, most innovative, most efficient vehicles in the world.”

The VPG MV-1 is handicap friendly and features a deployable access ramp with a 1,200-pound weight capacity and has a 36-inch entryway. The car can accommodate up to six passenger, including one or two wheelchair passengers.