ADA Van Rolls Off Line, With CNG Option

The Indiana plant that used to make H2 Hummers for General Motors is now cranking out the MV-1, “the only factory-built and assembled vehicle which meets or exceeds the vehicle guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The van, also dubbed the “First Mobility Vehicle,” is manufactured in Mishawaka, Ind., by AM General for the Vehicle Production Group (VPG). Miami-based VPG received a $50 million federal loan guarantee under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) program – created and funded by Congress during the Bush administration – to support the development of a model that runs on natural gas.

MV-1 personal mobility vehicle, VPG

image via U.S. Department of Energy

A key design feature of the MV-1, according to VPG, is the 56-inch high by 36-inch wide side door opening, which allows “for easy wheelchair or motorized scooter entry and exit via a wide deployable ramp.” That ramp, available in either a manual or powered version, has a 1,200-pound capacity and stores beneath the floor inside the vehicle.

MV-1 first mobility vehicle, VPG

image via Vehicle Production Group

As for the green version of the MV-1, VPG is offering a factory-installed compressed natural gas (CNG) option, making it “the only U.S. built vehicle, as well as the only vehicle in its segment, with an available original equipment manufacturer engineered and assembled CNG fuel system option.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.