MRO Magazine

BraunAbility – the World Leader in Mobility Vehicles – Selects Ford Explorer to Create First-Ever Wheelchair-Accessible SUV


July 24, 2015
By Business Wire News

DEARBORN, Mich.

As our nation marks 25 years of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, BraunAbility and Ford Motor Company are introducing a vehicle with the potential to change the face of an industry and bring greater mobility to people in wheelchairs.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150724005626/en/

As our nation marks 25 years of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, BraunAbility and Ford  ...

As our nation marks 25 years of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act, BraunAbility and Ford Motor Company are introducing a vehicle with the potential to change the face of an industry and bring greater mobility to people in wheelchairs. (Photo: Business Wire)

The BraunAbility MXV – a wheelchair-accessible vehicle based on Ford Explorer – gives wheelchair users the quality and dependability of a BraunAbility mobility vehicle and the adventurous, “unstoppable” spirit of the world’s best-selling sport utility vehicle. The BraunAbility MXV is the company’s first-ever volume production SUV offering.

Named for founder Ralph Braun, the Winamac, Indiana-based company has revolutionized what independence means to wheelchair users, establishing itself as a world leader in automotive mobility products, including wheelchair-accessible vehicles and lifts for consumer, commercial and taxi markets. Braun, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 73, was honored as a Champion of Change by President Barack Obama in 2012.

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.

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.

The BraunAbility MXV 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.

“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 scoured the popular SUV segment in search of the right vehicle before settling on Ford Explorer – the best-selling SUV in the U.S. for the last 25 years.

Innovative sliding-door technology and the lighted, in-floor ramp are highlights, but they are just two of the features that make this a uniquely accommodating ride. Wheelchair users will be able to drive the vehicle from a wheelchair, or ride as a passenger. Additional features include:

  • 54-inch door height
  • 28-inch ramp width
  • Sliding shifter for increased space
  • Space-saving front seat base design
  • Integrated key fob that operates both door and ramp
  • Available tow package
  • Transfer seat capable

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.

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.”

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Michigan, manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 194,000 employees and 66 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit www.corporate.ford.com.

About BraunAbility

BraunAbility is the world’s leading manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles and wheelchair lifts in the mobility industry. Founded nearly 50 years ago by Ralph Braun, the corporation was built on the age-old adage, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Ralph Braun was a young man who used a wheelchair and had no reliable transportation to and from his place of work. He built his first wheelchair-accessible vehicle in 1972, and since then the company has grown into the most well-known and experienced name in the mobility industry, bringing independence to millions of individuals across the world.

For news releases, related materials and high-resolution photos and video, visit www.media.ford.com.

Ford Motor Company
Mark Schirmer
313.390.8647
mschirme@ford.com
or
William A. Mattiace
313.390.4958
wmattiac@ford.com
or
BraunAbility
Megan Wegner
574.595.0478
megan.wegner@braunability.com