Ford Has First Wheel Chair Accessible SUV
The Chicago Auto Show is one of the biggest auto shows across North America. Automobile manufacturers come from all parts of the world to be a part of it, celebrate, introduce new vehicles and concepts, unveil design changes, etc. There is truly something for everyone on display at the Chicago Auto Show.
With all the vehicles on display and unveiling of new technological advancements, Ford might have debuted the most important one. Well, it would be most important for anyone who uses a wheelchair. Ford is ushering out the minivan only for wheelchairs and have introduced a new feature to its Ford Explorer. It’s time to give those in a wheelchair another option for transportation. Just because you use a wheelchair, doesn’t mean you can’t drive in style.
Ford has teamed up with a company called BraunAbility. This new partnership is going to up the “cool factor” for this new feature and the Ford Explorer.
Jesse Billauer is 37 years old. He had a dream to become a professional surfer. And he was on the verge of achieving that dream when at the age of 17, a large wave knocked him into a sandbar. This wave left him paralyzed. This tragic accident didn’t stop Jesse from taking on new adventures or prevent him from living for the thrill.
"When I got to surf after my injury, I just felt like 'Wow, this is still a beautiful sensation,' and like I said, I got that freedom and that independence," Billauer, of Life Rolls On, said.
People who live with disabilities find freedom and independence even more important those who do not. The idea of freedom and independence is one of the key reasons Billauer is teaming up with Ford and BraunAbility. Together, they intend to promote and market the new Ford Explorer MXV. The Ford Explorer MXV is one of a kind. It will be the first wheelchair-accessible SUV to hit the market. Say goodbye to the uncool minivan and hello to style and adventure.
"Personally, I'm not a minivan kind of guy. I like to roll around in style with a smooth profile. So when I first saw it, I thought 'Yeah. This is talking to me a lot more,'" Billauer said.
The Ford Explorer MXV will feature a sliding door that can be accessed by just pressing a single button. The Explorer will lower or lift, just as the ramp extends or retracts. The driver’s seat will be removable. This will allow a person to transfer to the Explorer’s seat or drive from their own wheelchair. BraunAbility is a company that specializes in wheelchair accessible vehicles and was thrilled to assist in this project.
"We had a segment of our customers that were wanting an alternative. Those especially young, more active lifestyle that wanted an alternative to our current offering, and they're asking SUV, SUV," said Joe Garnett, BraunAbility.
Could there be a better choice? The Ford Explorer has been the best-selling SUV in all of North American for over 25 years!
"The BraunAbility Explorer starts around the $60,000 area fully up-fitted where they can buy it from one of the mobility dealerships in the local area," said Omar Odeh, brand manager, Ford Explorer.
Billauer believes the Ford Explorer MXV will change the world of automobiles for those in a wheelchair.
"It's going to change the way people look at people with disabilities and I think that's where the conversation starts. It opens the conversation of 'Hey, I might be in a wheelchair, but I still can drive. I still have an opportunity to get out in the world and be cool with a vehicle like this,'" Billauer said.
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