Tag Archives: Braunability

New Superior logo with tag line

BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica Power XT


 

Test Drive – BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica Power XT Wheelchair Van

By Paul Erway, Superior Van & Mobility

BraunAbility 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Wheelchair Van

Conversion: BraunAbility Power XT Fold-Out with carpet

Added Options:  B&D 6 way driver seat base, and SureGrip Feather Light push-rock hand-controls

I recently had the honor of driving one of the first BraunAbility Pacifica’s that came off the line. I drove it on vacation and was really blown away at all the new features this vehicle brings to the wheelchair van market. I now drive this vehicle daily for work and personal business, and wanted to share some of the awesome new features and benefits that people may not be aware of.

First, the exterior redesign of the Pacifica incorporates smoother lines much like the Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey vans. This is very different from the boxy look of the Dodge vans.

Second, the user-friendly remote control will open any door without hitting any of the buttons on the key fob as long as it is with me. Even the back hatch door is designed so that when you grab the handle, the rear power door engages and opens for you without lifting it as you had to do in the past.

BraunAbility Pacifica handicap van rampTo engage the sliding side ramp door, and deploy the ramp and engage the kneeling cycle, you simply press the key fob two times. Once the ramp is deployed, the kneeling system continues to pull down towards the ground to make the incline as low as possible. I tend to be a little impatient at times and ready to wheel up the ramp as soon as possible, but I was assured by BraunAbility that as long as the ramp is fully deployed, there should not be any issues that affect the full kneeling process, and it is recommended and best to wait so that the incline is as small as possible. Another huge feature of the ramp in the BraunAbility Pacifica is that the weight capacity of the ramp is now 1,000 pounds. Further, if you get the In-Floor Ramp conversion model, the ramp width is 32” wide! For some folks that thought a full size van was their only option, you may want to visit a Superior showroom to see if the new Pacifica will work for you! This is a big difference compared to previous models!

Once inside, you immediately notice the larger interior space. The rear bench seems to be forward a slight bit, but you have ample room for your back chair tires and a large turning radius. The interior changes also allow for a little more back storage space. For me, I often carry my racing wheelchair with me, and it definitely fits in a little easier. The other nice thing about the rear bench is the comfort of the seat. In the past, the seats were square shaped so that they could fold into the floor for Stow-N-Go seating. They are now more ergonomically correct, and have a flip down foot rest, which provides a much more comfortable ride for passengers.

The front seat has also been improved. They feel better, and you can now adjust the angle of the headrest. This was a help to me on the long spans of driving during vacation. I sometimes like to recline the seat back a little more than usual, and can now move the head rest forward to still give me a clear view of the road. Finally, if you need to remove either of the front Pacifica seats in order to remain in your wheelchair as a passenger or driver, the seat base has also been redesigned for easier pop-out/pop-in use.

Here are some other small features that make this vehicle very user friendly. You can start the vehicle with a simple touch of a button as long as you have the key fob inside the vehicle, and the brake is engaged. With key fob placed in my bag and under my chair, I just apply the brake and press the start button. The gear shift is now just a turn dial as well. Once you have the brake engaged, anyone with limited function of the hand or arthritis will find this to be a blessing.

Most of the dash controls are touch screen, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road. When in park, the touch screen acts very much like a computer and can be a handy tool to have when in a new city. Touch features are also available through the steering wheel. For example, if the dash light comes on to indicate a low tire, I can use my left hand to touch a button on the steering wheel and it shows exactly how much pressure is in each tire.

The cruise control on the steering wheel has also been improved. When setting the speed, there is a read out on the dash that tells you what the set speed is, and it holds that speed even when going up and down hills.

The electronic improvements overall seem to help get better gas mileage as well. For example, on the previous models of vans that I have driven, MPG hovers around 20 to 21 for my style of driving. The window sticker of this model of Pacifica reads 18 MPG for city and 28 MPG for highway. While on vacation, I actually had an average of 28.2 MPG, and upon returning, I am averaging around 24 MPG (with air conditioning on)! Finally, the system will automatically shut down when you come to an extended stop, like a red light. When you let off the brake and apply the gas, it automatically restarts the vehicle and off you go, thus saving on gas even more. So, even though purchasing a newer vehicle is a larger investment at first, you are going to save in the long run on gas costs alone, while enjoying a more pleasurable ride.

Speaking of gas, at the gas pumps you will notice that the fill hose has a small ring on the nozzle. The gas lid of the Pacifica is press-to-open, and I immediately noticed that there is NOT a gas cap. The hose nozzle fits right in, and is designed so that the ring on the hose clips in place, eliminating the chance of it slipping out and pouring gas everywhere. This also prevents evaporating fumes coming out as the tank fills.

Overall, the Pacifica was impressive enough to make a regular driver of wheelchair vans write a blog and share this story with everyone! Other things that caught my attention were the nice looking tires, the built-in vacuum cleaner, the parking sensors that allow for hands-free parallel parking and the Forward Collision Warning that can be programmed to warn you of any potential collisions. Should you have small children you may want to have the Surround View Camera System upgrade as well. You are able to see right up next to the vehicle, and all around it, to be clear of any toys or children that may be in harm’s way before you start to drive.

The reason vehicle manufacturers keep making vehicle model changes is to improve the vehicles safety, and convenience offerings, in an effort to provide a higher quality of life for people. The conversion companies have the same goal, and it really shows with the new BraunAbility Conversion.

There is a New Kid in Town – First View BraunAbility MXV Wheelchair Accessible Ford Explorer

The wait is over! BraunAbility, the worldwide leader in wheelchair accessible vehicles, announced today its debut of its all new Mobility Crossover Vehicle (MXV). Built on the 2015 Ford Explorer chassis, this new addition from BraunAbility changes everything!

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BraunAbility MXV Mobility Crossover Vehicle. First Wheelchair Accessible Ford Explorer.

Recently unveiled February 24th at the 2015 NMEDA Conference in Daytona, FL., the MXV will be the industry’s FIRST wheelchair accessible Ford Explorer as an alternative to the traditional minivan.

The MXV will incorporate a lowered floor design to increase interior height, automatic power doors, an electric actuated kneeling system to reduce ramp angle, and an in-floor power ramp system for the deployment of the in-floor wheelchair ramp.

The new MXV conversion will soon be available at Superior Van & Mobility and BraunAbility dealers nationwide.

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BraunAbility MXV Wheelchair Accessible SUV.

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BraunAbility MXV Features an In-Floor Wheelchair Ramp Design

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A Special Thanks to Superior Van & Mobility and The Ralph Braun Foundation

After receiving a grant from The Braun Foundation, John Sass at the South Bend location of Superior Van & Mobility went above and beyond to assist Zachary and his family in selecting the perfect wheelchair accessible minivan. Now more than ever, Zachary has the ability to venture out into his community; a piece of independence that many of us take for granted. The following is a heartfelt expression of their gratitude:

zachary

Wow! Thank you to The Ralph Braun Foundation. Without this grant we would not have been able to purchase this mobility van to enhance our son’s life and the people he has touched and also the people he will touch in and around our community. Thank you Ralph Braun for developing this mobility device that has provided people throughout this great world we all live in to feel a part of today and in the future. It is really great that you continue to touch lives with the Foundation that you left behind. We really appreciate your Foundation for the generosity from the bottom of our hearts. We will never forget the impact your Foundation gave our family. I truly believe your Foundation will continue to touch people throughout the world just like it was meant to be in your planning before your passing. Again thank you and the Foundation for this grant.

We would also like to thank, John Sass from the South Bend Superior Van and Mobility location for going above and beyond to find that perfect vehicle fit for our sons special needs and all his patience for making this purchase possible for us. We are forever grateful for all his help in this process. You’re the best John!!!!

Sincerely from the bottom of all our hearts,

Neil, Ellen & Zachary

Pennzoil, BraunAbility and PVA Provide Veterans the Gift of Mobility

Daily, thousands of Americans put their lives on the line serving in the military for our freedom. This past Memorial Day, we remembered those whose lives were lost and reminded ourselves that for many returning home, a new battle begins. In an effort to assist those who have sustained a paralyzing injury while active, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), BraunAbility, and Pennzoil® teamed up to retrofit three vehicles in an effort to give back the gift of mobility to paralyzed veterans.

Pennzoil Lovethecarbusiness campaign

Hank Ebert retired Navy veteran receiving a wheelchair accessible vehicle from BraunAbility and Pennzoil

Hank Ebert, was one of those veterans who received a retrofitted BraunAbility Toyota Sienna minivan, featuring the latest technology in assisting paralyzed drivers, as part of Pennzoil’s “Love Your Car” program, a partnership they created with the PVA. Hank was a U.S. Navy veteran, and served four years in the Navy as a crewman on a rescue helicopter in Vietnam. Today, despite his injury, Ed stays active as he participates in the Veteran’s Wheelchair games, is a fishing guide, and an die hard drag racing fan. Ed was lucky enough to have been nominated by his local PVA chapter in Minnesota to receive the custom vehicle, and as you can see from the video, he was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“I’m incredibly excited. It hasn’t even sunk in yet how excited I am,” said U.S. Navy veteran, Hank Ebert. “From winning this vehicle, to being flown to Charlotte to see my first NASCAR race, to being here with all my friends to celebrate, it’s just awesome.”

Today, there are more than 44,000 American veterans living with paralysis and the effects of rising healthcare costs. These are veterans, who have been here for us, and are now in a great need of support. Which has led to the mission of the PVA’s “ABLE” campaign, which was developed to help the nation’s paralyzed veterans rebuild their lives. With support from companies like Pennzoil, Mission: ABLE will continue to provide American disabled veterans with the tools to help them regain their mobility.

sam schmidt art

Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation, “Racing to Recovery Luau”

Join us for the 2014 Racing to Recovery Luau!
Dario Franchitti to be honored with Legendary Driver Award

The Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation (SSPF) will host the 15th annual Racing to Recovery Gala Saturday, May 24, 2014 at the Lucas Oil Estate in Carmel. The Gala will begin with a Hawaiian luau and auction at 4 p.m., followed by the award presentation at 5 p.m. and a dance party until 10 p.m.

During the event, SSPF founder Sam Schmidt will present the 2014 Legendary Driver Award to Dario Franchitti, the four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner who retired from racing last year.

The Racing to Recovery Gala is one of the city’s premiere events leading up to the Indianapolis 500. This year’s Gala promises to be the best ever, set on the grounds of the breathtaking Lucas Oil Mansion in Carmel. A festive Hawaiian luau and buffet will be featured, along with Hawaiian dancers, an interactive hula contest and live music throughout the evening.

A highlight of the event will be a live and silent auction, featuring an impressive and diverse variety of items in all price ranges. The auction raises funds to support SSPF’s mission to find a cure for paralysis and is the foundation’s largest annual fundraising event. Last year, the event raised more than $300,000 for SSPF and spinal cord injury research.

“We promise a fun event at a spectacular location,” said Ida Cahill, president and CEO of SSPF. “This year, we’ll honor one of the greatest names in racing and make some exciting announcements about the future of the foundation. It will be a memorable evening!”

Reservations and sponsorship information can be obtained by calling 317-236-9999 or sending an email to events@samschmidt.org.

BraunAbility Recognizes Superior Van & Mobility with Ralph Braun Signature Award

Ralph Braun Signature Award
BraunAbility recognizes dealers that provide outstanding customer satisfaction

The Braun Corporation, the leading manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vehicles and wheelchair lift systems, recently honored Superior Van & Mobility with an award for customer service excellence in the Midwest region.

Six BraunAbility dealerships, one from each of the company’s sales regions, were honored with the Ralph Braun Signature Award, recognizing outstanding service based on customer satisfaction survey results from 2013.

BraunAbility has over 200 dealer locations nationwide, and each is staffed with mobility experts who are trained to evaluate the individual needs of customers. In addition, most locations offer 24-hour roadside emergency assistance, so customers have the assurance of support and service for their BraunAbility wheelchair accessible vehicle, even in the middle-of-the-night or on a holiday weekend.

“Our customers rely on their dealers to provide a sales and service experience that addresses their unique needs,” says Braun President Nick Gutwein. “These dealers have demonstrated outstanding care for their customers.”

About Superior Van & Mobility
Superior Van & Mobility is family owned by the Cook family of Louisville, KY and currently operates nine locations across Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana. Beginning as a van conversion company, Superior has grown to one of the nation’s largest mobility dealers providing wheelchair accessible vehicles, lifts and driving aids to the consumer and commercial transportation markets. This is the second year in a row that their location in Indianapolis, IN has won the Braun honor. The company has built a reputation for expertise, caring nature, and providing tremendous customer service. To learn more about Superior Van & Mobility, visit www.superiorvan.com.

 

About The Braun Corporation
The Braun Corporation is the world’s leading manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans, ramps, and wheelchair lift systems. These products enable persons with physical disabilities to regain mobility and lead active and independent lives. The Indiana-based company was founded by Ralph Braun, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at a young age and unable to walk by age 15. Ralph was motivated by his disability to invent the world’s first electric scooter (the Tri-Wheeler) and wheelchair lift (the Lift-A-Way) in his parents’ garage. Word spread and demand for the product increased, resulting in the birth of Save-A-Step Manufacturing, which ultimately became The Braun Corporation. The company, via the BraunAbility brand, offers the most diverse model lineup in the industry, including the most popular minivan models from Dodge, Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota. For more information about the Braun Corporation or our outstanding line of wheelchair accessible vehicles, please visit www.braunability.com.

BraunAbility With West Coast Customs Unveils It’s Concept Mobility Ford Explorer

We are happily waiting for more news on the new mobility concept vehicle from BraunAbility! A joint venture with West Coast Customs, BraunAbility delivered the first vehicle of it’s kind to a deserving Marine Veteran, Mike Delancey. This is a few photos of the 2014 Ford Explorer that was customized/converted to be wheelchair accessible.

Complete with a custom camo exterior!

 

 

 

Futuristic slide-out entry!

 

 

Spacious interior for the driver

and his passengers!

 

While this vehicle is receiving a lot of press, we hope the concept becomes a near reality and becomes part of the immense vehicle line-up BraunAbility already offers the disabled community.

We feel this would be an incredible addition to the legacy Ralph Braun has left behind. We can only imagine how proud he would have been to see this vehicle unveiled. He was always looking forward and for ways to improve the lives of those who many overlook.

You can find more photos and videos on our Facebook page by clicking here.

Way to Go BraunAbility, West Coast Customs and Mike Delancey!!