First Wheelchair Accessible SUV Announced Following Go Further With Ford #FordTrends

by Valerie, Mom Knows It All

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I attended the 2015 Go further With Ford Conference as a guest of Ford. I have not received any compensation for this post. Please note that, as always, any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own.

Go Further With Ford - Ford Trends Silicon Valley CA

You might recall that I attended the 2015 Ford Go Further Conference a few weeks ago. The tip was great and I learned a lot. One of the key points of the conference was mobility. Ford is working hard to develop transportation for everyone. Some might be surprised to discover that I am not referring to just traditional transportation.Ford is working hard to develop things like peer-to-peer car sharing, autonomous vehicles, and even bicycles!

Mark Fields, CEO of Ford Motor Company, touched upon just some of these alternative modes of transportation currently under development in his Go Further With Ford keynote presentation.

At the end of the conference we had a mini drive event, where we paired up and took a new Ford model out onto the streets of San Francisco in order to check out some of the latest features in connectivity, mobility and performance. One of the vehicles I’d hoped to drive is the new Explorer. I currently own two Explorers, one being an older four-door model and one being an older two-door sport model. I haven’t been in the Explorer since they redesigned it to look sleek and sporty. I am hopeful that I’ll have an opportunity to test drive one of the new models soon, and share my thoughts with you. In the meantime, I’d like to share this very exciting news.

This week BraunAbility, the world leader in wheelchair-accessible vehicle production, announced that it is moving forward with the BraunAbility MXV™, their first-ever wheelchair accessible SUV. The vehicle is based on the Ford Explorer, the best-selling SUV in the U.S. for the last 25 years.

“For our first-ever wheelchair-accessible SUV, it was important we worked with the best,” said Nick Gutwein, BraunAbility president and CEO. “We wanted to create a vehicle that personifies freedom and independence, and the Ford Explorer provides the ultimate base to achieve that.”

BraunAbility MXV

The MXV concept vehicle was introduced earlier this year in Daytona, Florida, when BraunAbility celebrated the moment by promising the first production MXV would be donated to wounded veteran Mike Delancey. Delancey, a United States Marine paralyzed by a sniper’s bullet while serving in Iraq in 2006, survived 42 days in intensive care, and is now working to open Wounded Warrior’s Abilities Ranch – a place where veterans can strengthen body and mind through exercise and recreation.

Wheelchair users will be able to drive the BraunAbility MXV from a wheelchair, or ride as a passenger. The vehicle features patented sliding-door technology, removable driver and passenger seats, and a powered, lighted in-floor ramp. In addition, the interior space of the vehicle is maximized to create ample room for wheelchair navigation and comfort. With Explorer’s middle-row seat removed, the BraunAbility MXV provides interior space to fit the most common power wheelchair models, and its 56-inch cabin height provides a spacious interior for a comfortable ride. The vehicle is transfer seat capable, and includes an integrated key fob that operates both door and ramp, as well as a sliding shifter for increased space.

Featuring a 3.5-liter V6 engine, the BraunAbility MXV delivers performance and capability Explorer drivers have embraced for years, including an EPA-estimated rating of 17 city mpg, 24 highway mpg and 20 combined mpg. Actual mileage will vary. The MXV also delivers an estimated 5,000-pound maximum tow capacity.

“The MXV is a revolutionary vehicle, and we’re thrilled with Explorer’s role in helping bring it to market,” said Craig Patterson, Ford utility vehicle marketing manager. “For 25 years, the Explorer name has symbolized freedom and adventure, and the BraunAbility MXV adds another chapter to that story.”

Production of the new MXV will begin in August in BraunAbility’s 170,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Winamac, with vehicles available in early fall. The BraunAbility MXV will be available for purchase at more than 200 authorized BraunAbility mobility dealers throughout the United States.

We know a good number of people who use wheelchairs. I think it’s wonderful that there will be a vehicle on the market soon that helps enable wheelchair users to “go further”, and that there will finally be an alternative to the minivan.

Ford Explorer BraunAbility

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26 comments

Marina John July 28, 2015 - 8:18 pm

This is amazing news! I can’t believe there haven’t been others that accommodate wheelchairs before this! So much more convenient for those that need it.

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Danielle July 28, 2015 - 8:35 pm

I love this! Finally those who are wheelchair bound have a great vehicle option that doesn’t need special tweaking.

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Jennifer July 28, 2015 - 8:40 pm

This is fantastic! I’ve always thought it was such a bummer that people in wheelchairs had to always have a van. Now they can have some serious swag!

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Jenna Wood July 28, 2015 - 8:41 pm

Wow, this is so awesome! I can’t believe how stylish this SUV is while being wheelchair accessible!

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Seattle Travel Blogger July 28, 2015 - 8:53 pm

That would be great for the handicapped. It’s so good to see a car company that actually cares for its customers.

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Mama to 5 BLessings July 28, 2015 - 9:29 pm

That is great! This would have been awesome when my uncle was alive, my poor aunt had to maually life a ramp for him to get in and our of her van because he was wheelchair bound.

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Jeanette July 28, 2015 - 9:31 pm

This would have been great for my grandparents when they were still alive. It is amazing how much innovation has come in just a few years.

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Kelly Hutchinson July 28, 2015 - 9:41 pm

I saw this recently and I was thrilled Ford had done this. Just another reason I love that company.

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Allie D. July 28, 2015 - 10:55 pm

Really appreciate that this is a wheelchair friendly vehicle. Would have come in handy for my parents.

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Liz Mays July 28, 2015 - 11:09 pm

It will be great to see more SUV manufacturers following in their footsteps. This is so cool!

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Ann Bacciaglia July 28, 2015 - 11:15 pm

I love that they have a vehicle like this. It would make such a difference for a handy caped person.

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Tammy Roy July 28, 2015 - 11:16 pm

This is an incredible vehicle. I have a friend whose life would be forever changed with a car like this.

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Elizabeth Lampman July 28, 2015 - 11:17 pm

I love that Ford is the first to come up with a Suv like this. I will have to share this with a few friends that could use it.

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Mary Larsen July 28, 2015 - 11:19 pm

This is amazing! My sister is in a wheelchair, and I’m so happy that ford has made this 🙂

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Stefany July 28, 2015 - 11:43 pm

This is so great! My uncle uses a wheelchair and they haven’t been able to find a vehicle they enjoy to drive. I am sure they would like this!

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Amber Edwards July 28, 2015 - 11:46 pm

We have a neighbor who needs a wheelchair accessible vehicle. They are hard to find. I think it is awesome that Ford is bringing a new option to the table!

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Shauna July 29, 2015 - 12:01 am

I tell you, my MIL has a scooter and she struggles to get it on the rear ramp of her van. This would be such a GOD-send for her. I love that Ford is doing this.

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Autumn @Mamachallenge July 29, 2015 - 12:11 am

This is awesome! I bet it will be a life saver for so many people!

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Sabrina Snyder July 29, 2015 - 1:25 am

It’s great that companies are reaching out to the differently abled and providing them with products that might usually be out of the realm of possibility for them!

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dawn July 29, 2015 - 2:54 am

i was at the ford trends event also. i had such a great time and learned tons. This wheelchair accessible suv is amazing.

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pat.navymom July 29, 2015 - 8:05 am

Add-on ramps can poise problems. This innovation may just what it needs to get more physically challenged people out and about.

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Victoria Sconion July 29, 2015 - 9:20 am

That would be awesome for my nephew! He is in a wheelchair and it be easier for him to just get in and out.

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candice July 29, 2015 - 11:49 am

i can only imagine how many people this will help! i mean, we all need a ride and a car doesn’t always accommodate everyone’s needs.

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Emily July 29, 2015 - 2:23 pm

That is really awesome of Ford. I hope more companies make this an easier option!

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Danielle H July 30, 2015 - 12:38 am

This is fantastic. I love that there will be more options than just vans for those in wheelchairs now.

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Aubrey July 30, 2015 - 3:33 am

How awesome. I should tell my aunt about this.

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