Most wheelchair accessible vehicles are modified after-market, but factory-built accessible vehicles have been recently
Most wheelchair accessible vehicles are modified after-market, but factory-built accessible vehicles have been recently released.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles are designed with ease of access in mind for disabled people; that is why wheelchair accessible vehicles were originally invented. The most basic wheelchair accessible vehicle has a ramp installed to allow wheelchairs to roll up into the vehicle, and often has seats removed to create more room for the wheelchair. More advanced models sport automated suspension systems that lift the wheelchair up into the vehicle, and are lower to the ground in order to allow more mobile individuals easy-access to the interior seats. These vehicles also tend to have reinforced floors and securing features to keep the wheelchair from moving while the vehicle is in motion. Some vehicles sport a crane-type lift that functions similar to an automated lift, but with strong cables raising the platform holding the wheelchair instead of hydraulics.
Most wheelchair accessible vehicles are modified after-market, but factory-built accessible vehicles have been recently released. The majority of wheelchair accessible vehicles are vans or SUVs, as they have enough space to make the necessary modifications without interfering with the driver's ability to drive safely and comfortably. They also have higher ceilings, so the disabled individual doesn't run the risk of hitting their head on the roof when entering or exiting the vehicle. The most popular accessible vehicle design has the front passenger seat removed so that the disabled individual can roll up next to the driver, creating their own passenger seat with their wheelchair.
Wheelchair accessible vehicles have one of two entry configurations. These two options are entry areas at the rear of the vehicle, and entry areas on the side of the vehicle. Side entry areas require more space around the vehicle to be used, but are good for picking up individuals on a curb instead of having them roll through traffic. Rear entry areas take up less space than side entry areas, but the disabled individual can't sit next to the driver, as their path is blocked by the back seats. The biggest advantage of wheelchair accessible vehicle is that it provides the freedom to mobility challenged people to drive vehicle sitting right at their wheelchair. It is great advantage and achievement of humankind which have allowed disabled people to move independently.
Vehicles made to help handicapped individuals carry a hefty price tag. New after-market wheelchair accessible vehicles can range in price from $37,000 to $70,000, with fancy luxury vehicles priced even higher. The price of these vehicles tends to vary based on the amount of handicap-accessible features, but the cost can also fluctuate if specialty items are included, such as built-in TVs and DVD players for back-seat passengers. Used after-market models can sell for as low as $30,000. Factory-built accessible models cost about $35,000 on average, but are harder to find because they are so new to the market. Factory-built models also do not have specialty items built into them at this time, though those features may become available in the future. Most wheelchair accessible vehicles get an average of 27 miles per gallon on gas, though that number changes based on how many individuals are riding in a vehicle and how much the disabled individual's wheelchair weighs.
There are many companies that will modify a van or SUV that is currently owned for the owner. These conversions can also be done at home. Conversions are typically priced around $12,000, though fancier systems are much more costly. Most conversions require a vehicle to be shipped out of state, and shipping costs are tacked onto the conversion prices. Not all disabled individuals need a wheelchair accessible vehicle, but it is extremely useful for those who cannot lift themselves out of seats.
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Many of the Wheelchair Accessible Cars on the market can even be driven from a wheelchair, giving the disabled person more freedom.