In 2011, the first mobility vehicle designed and built from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility – the MV-1 – rolled off the assembly line and was presented to Marc Buoniconti, son of Hall of Fame middle linebacker Nick Buoniconti, who played in the NFL in the 60’s and 70’s. While Marc was playing football for The Citadel in 1985, a tackle resulted in a spinal cord injury (SCI) that left him unable to move a muscle below his neck. Today he and his father lead The Miami Project, an organization with a single focus: To gather in one institution the finest minds in neuroscience and launch an all-out assault on SCI.
The MV-1 is not considered an SUV or a full-size van. Because the American-made MV-1 is the first handicap vehicle built solely for the purpose of wheelchair accessible transport, it is in a class by itself.
With input from a number of wheelchair users and caregivers, designers at The Vehicle Production Group (VPG) produced a car with enhanced structural integrity, a wider side-deployable ramp and entry way than required by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), an anti-slip ramp surface, ramp lighting, a rear-facing jump seat, and a number of other amenities to make the vehicle as useful and comfortable as possible for people in wheelchairs. The negatives are poor gas mileage (about 12 mpg and a starting price of $40,000.