At first glance, the MV-1 looks like an oversized version of the Checker cabs that once were commonplace on urban streets. But the vehicle, designed and built by Florida’s Vehicle Production Group has a very different passenger in mind.
The MV-1 is the first vehicle specifically developed for the disabled. That might seem like a small niche but, in fact, there are millions of Americans who cannot get into, never mind operate, a conventional automobile without assistance.
The good news is that the MV-1 is part of a growing movement to help the handicapped improve their mobility. The problem is that the alternatives can be extremely costly at a time when there are fewer sources of help – especially from cash-strapped local, state and federal government agencies.
According to federal data, there are 54 million Americans with some form of disability. Of those, 14 million require some assistance to remain mobile, while 4 million are confined to a wheelchair or similar device.
That includes Steve Kitchen who was left a quadriplegic when the car he was riding in had a severe collision in 1999. He has since been severely restricted in his mobility, moving around only with the help of an electric wheelchair.