Ford and BraunAbility team up for wheelchair-accessible Explorer

  • Image Credit: BraunAbility
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  • ford explorer braun mxv mobility
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  • ford explorer braun mxv factory
BraunAbility, a creator of wheelchair-accessible vehicles that are usually based on minivans, has teamed up with Ford to create the MXV, a vehicle the company hails as the first of its kind. In addition to the obvious exterior modifications that include sliding doors, this Explorer-based mobility vehicle has removable driver and passenger seats and a powered ramp that nestles into the vehicle's floor.

Modifications to the regular Explorer platform will allow wheelchair users to operate the MXV from the driver's position with the normal seat removed, ride along as a front passenger, or enjoy 56 inches of cabin height in the middle row, which is large enough to accommodate most power wheelchairs. Best we can tell, there are no changes to the Explorer's powertrain, which means a 3.5-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque will provide motivation, not to mention 5,000-pounds worth of towing capacity. Fuel economy from the MXV matches that of the Explorer, with 17 city, 24 highway, and 20 combined. The twin-turbo EcoBoost V6 isn't available.

Unfortunately, all-wheel drive also isn't available from BraunAbility due to the lowered floor necessary to make the vehicle large enough to work as a proper mobility vehicle. Even so, the Explorer looks like a pretty nice platform with which to build such a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, with good looks, good driving manners, and the kind of rugged looks you can't find in a minivan.

Expect to see the MXV at BraunAbility dealers this fall, but don't expect to be first in line. Vehicle No. 1 has been promised to wounded veteran Mike Delancey, a United States Marine paralyzed by a sniper's bullet while serving in Iraq in 2006. Take a look at the images above, and feel free to peruse the press release for all the details below.

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

• BraunAbility introduces its first-ever wheelchair-accessible sport utility vehicle – the
BraunAbility MXV™
• BraunAbility-customized Ford Explorer – the best-selling SUV in the U.S. for the last 25
years – will be the company's first mass-produced wheelchair-accessible SUV
• BraunAbility revolutionized what independence means to wheelchair users, and has
established itself as a world leader in the mobility business
DEARBORN, Mich. July 23, 2015 – 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.

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."

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