Tag Archives: Handicap Accessible Van

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.

Industry’s First Chrysler Pacifica Wheelchair Accessible Minivan

VMI Introduces Industry’s First Chrysler Pacifica Wheelchair Accessible Minivan

 

VMI 2016 Pacifica
Vantage Mobility International (VMI) recently unveiled the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica wheelchair accessible van conversion at the Dealer Council Executive Committee in Chicago, IL. In addition to exclusive guests from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), VMI’s dealer council and the VMI’s new spokesperson, TEAM USA wheelchair rugby player and Paralympian, Joe Delagrave, many dealers from around the country attended.

The all-new Chrysler Pacifica has been big news in the auto industry, and VMI wanted to be part of its success by being the first mobility conversion company to bring the wheelchair accessible version to market. The new conversion will begin full production the first week of September, with dealership around the country receiving their first shipments in October. Production will be limited at first, as inventories are built, so most dealers will only receive a small number in 2016.

VMI 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
The new design from VMI will feature a power side-entry in-floor 30 inch wide, 800 lbs. capacity ramp, industry first interchangeable front seats, and a new third row footrest that increases the interior floor space by 2 additional inches. When coupled with the Pacifica’s 100 safety and security features, the VMI Pacifica wheelchair accessible conversion will surely be one of the top choices for consumers.

VMI Northstar Access360™ Features Include:

• A larger in-floor ramp that conveniently stows under the floor, creating more room for wheelchair maneuverability
• An obstruction-free doorway that allows able-bodied passengers to enter and exit the vehicle without deploying the ramp
• A full 30″ wide ramp with 800lb capacity accommodates large power chairs

They’re Handicap Parking Violators Too!


We’ve all seen them, the handicap parking violators that seem to take up all the handicap parking spaces just when someone who really needs one drives about. We’ll today, I saw something that took this problem a step further, and quite frankly made me even angrier than seeing some regular-Joe park in a space illegally.

It was the other morning, when I stopped off at a local gas station to get my morning (Kickstart), I happened to notice a vehicle as I walked to the front door. First, because it was a handicap accessible vehicle, a medical transport vehicle in fact, so I took a glance. Second, it was actually parked in the designated handicap parking space instead of some other “Yahoo” taking up the spot. So, my Initial thought, it looked like a win/win! Until I happened to take a closer look… Yep, to my surprise, there was no specialized license plate, no rear-view mirror placard, and no disabled passenger. Only the driver, sitting there consuming her breakfast.

It was to my disbelief that this person, whose job is to assist the physically disabled, had in-fact purposely parked in the only handicap accessible parking space, even when they didn’t have any passengers. To me, a person of industry, this was a blatant slap in the face! It’s not like this isn’t a hot topic that anyone in the industry isn’t aware of. In fact, being a driver of medical transport, I’m sure more than once, they have gotten angry themselves that someone was parked in a handicap space illegally while they were trying to drop off one of their passengers. Yet, here is this person abusing the system and right.

I couldn’t help, but to keep thinking about this as I made my beverage. “What should I do? Should I confront them? Should I make my point and cause a scene, or should I remain calm and expose this issue on a much bigger platform?” I chose the latter… Mainly because they were leaving at the time I exited the building, but I also figured polite confrontation would not get me anywhere except more upset and who knows how they would react; best to take the high road.

So, here I am, sharing my story to further expose the problem of handicap parking violators, and the abuse that obviously exists by some of those in the industry. Note: I said SOME of them, not all of them. I want to go on record that the majority of those in the industry do respect this area and are not part of the problem. In fact, they are champions of the issue. Also, keep in mind there isn’t any one single gender, socioeconomic status, age, or ethnicity that can be used to profile a violator. They might be your neighbor, sibling, or spouse. Only through continued exposure of the problem and tougher penalties, can we can make a difference. Do the right thing… help the cause where you can, but DO NOT take matters into your own hands, and while hard to do, turn the other way and report it appropriately if able.  Confrontation is not worth it…

May is National Mobility Awareness Month

MOBILITY_AWARENESS_LOGOGet your Video Submissions Ready!

Superior Van & Mobility is once again excited to announce that it is time for, National Mobility Awareness Month (NMAM), presented by the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). This is your chance to win a brand new wheelchair van!

This year, NMEDA will be giving away three brand new wheelchair accessible minivans to three deserving individuals based on their stories and acquired votes (no purchase necessary). One van will be given away in each of the following three categories: Senior, Caregiver, and General.

The video entry submission period begins, April 12, 2016, so the sooner you enter the better the chance you have to rack up the votes. Voting period is May 3rd – 31st, and the winners will be announced June 17, 2016.

This is your chance to present your inspirational stories of perseverance, overcoming challenges, accomplishment, community involvement, or how you go above and beyond to take care of others with disabilities. If you are one of these exceptional, “Local Hero’s”, or know of someone who is, NMEDA wants to hear from you!

Who Can Submit Entries

The contest is open to everyone; the medical community; business professionals; caregivers; family members; friends; and those individuals themselves with physical challenges. Anyone can recommend a, “Local Hero” by submitting a video entry that not only tells their story, but demonstrates why they feel they deserve to win one of the three mobility vans.

How to get Votes

Voting is the most important aspect of this contest, and it is imperative to win. There are numerous ways to gain votes, and I’ve outlined a few of them below to help get you started.

Best Practices for Self-Promotion

1. Post your plea for support/votes with a direct link to your voting page on all of your social media accounts. Be sure you don’t forget to ask your friends and family to also share your post on their accounts as well. This will quickly get your story out to the masses for huge voter turnout. Try to also remember to use the hashtag #NMAM16 in your posts.

2. Contact your local new media outlets (TV stations, newspapers, radio stations, etc.) with the contest information and your personal story. The goal is to get your community behind you to further increase the probably of votes.

3. Think outside the box! Interact with the community. Maybe make a sign, and attend large community events to promote not only your need for votes, but the contest itself. Idea: Have small cards that you can hand out with brief bio/contest summary and the link to your story and voting page. Think like a politician! Go out and ask for votes! Shake hands, and interact. This is the perfect time of the year to ride off the coat tails of the election atmosphere. Just an idea…

4. Last tip… Contact your local mobility dealer in your area. If unsure who that might be, visit NMEDA.com, and use their dealer locator. You can also view a list of our nine locations, to see if we are your local dealer, by visiting our location page at superiorvan.com.

Once you get your local dealer contact, call them and ask for their exclusive dealer code for your entry into the NMEDA contest. Then ask them for a, “Quality Needs Assessment”. By having them perform one, you get an extra 1000 BONUS VOTES. This is a simple form that the dealer fills out, based off your information and mobility needs. Once complete, this form is then faxed to NMEDA, and the points will be added to your account within a few days. Pretty easy huh?!

Well that’s enough for now… I better stop giving up all this valuable information so others will have a chance to win too, or before I tell you that one last thing it takes to win. Ha! Kidding… You are already way ahead of most if you read this entire blog. I highly doubt there are many other sites out there that have provided their readers with as much information and promotional ideas that I provided. See… I’m just a nice guy!

Soooo… go forth and promote! Get creative, and get out there! It will be hard to win if you and others don’t promote your story to everyone you know, and even don’t know. As you can see, there are many creative ideas to be had to self-promote. Just make sure HOW, and WHAT you do to get your votes is safe and legal.  Wink!

For More Information

If you still would like more information, which I’m sure you do… be sure to click on the following links:

NMEDA.com

mobilityawarenessmonth.com

Good Luck!

 

New Superior logo with tag line

The ‘smart’ wheelchair of the Future?


Coming soon… the smart wheelchair, as recently demonstrated at this year’s CTIA wireless industry conference in Las Vegas, NV. Built by Permobil, this wheelchair has cellular connectivity for an endless array of use. It demonstrates the concept while embracing the notion that one day virtually every product will be online or communicate with us in one way or fashion.

While it’s just the beginning, one day this chair may have the ability to send diagnostics, alerts in-case of an accident, and even track the chairs whereabouts, but the endless function doesn’t just stop there. Permobil expects big things to come, as the potential for this advanced technology is staggering. Permobil expects a version of their wheelchair, integrating this technology, will be available in 2016.

permobil1

ADA Celebrates 25 Years – Still a Long Way to Go…

July 26, 1990, George H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); a law that paved the way for equal rights and treatment for millions of Americans with disabilities.

ADA 25 Year Anniversary

ADA 25 Year Anniversary

It’s now 25 years later, and yes, a lot has improved; curbs have been reduced and ramps have been built. You’ll even find Braille on  signage and wheelchair lifts on city buses among the thousands of other improvements that have taken place as a result of the ADA. However, as many of the 38 million Americans with a disability can tell you, there is still a long way to go. Not only among the governing bodies of the United States, but among the public and private sector.

Many of the complaints still coming in from disabled Americans continue to revolve around lack of amenities, or amenities that just don’t function. Take for example a hotel chain with accessible rooms. Many of these rooms have what they call a roll-in shower and if you are lucky bars next to the toilet, but what many are still lacking are beds that sit lower to the floor. It’s still to this day far to common to see a business try to be compliant, but fail to wholly deliver, and airlines are not any better.

Don’t even get me started on all the stories circulating around the Internet regarding the experiences disabled travelers have experienced; from blatant disregard of their well-being to  downright humiliation. There are far too many…

As we look forward to celebrating this monumental occasion, we still have come a long way none-the-less.  An American with a disability is far better-off today than prior to the ADA, and things are only to improve as more and more advocates get involved to bring to light the shortcomings of the public and private sector.

If you would like to learn more about the ADA, please visit: http://www.ada.gov/ada_25th_anniversary/

 

Would You Like to Win a NEW Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?

NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month

NMEDA National Mobility Awareness Month

Of course you would, and here’s your chance! May is National Mobility Awareness Month sponsored by, National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA). It’s the 4th year for their campaign that is designed to raise awareness of the many life-changing vehicle solutions available to those 18 million Americans with mobility issues. This year NMEDA will be giving away four wheelchair accessible vehicles to well deserved local heroes in the following categories: one to a caregiver, one to a senior (60+), one battery powered for in-town driving only, and one general use. (no purchase necessary)

So, you may ask, “How Do I Enter?”

Here are the particulars…

LOCAL HEROES: A Local Hero can be defined as anyone in your community, whether a caregiver, or a person with a disability who has persevered through the obstacles of living with a disability and strives to lead an active, mobile lifestyle. We are looking for
inspirational stories of how they overcome challenges and are triumphing, whether it be through volunteering, advocating, educating, persevering or achieving.

ENTRIES: People must send NMEDA their stories online at MobilityAwarenessMonth.com.  Local Heroes, caregivers, and loved ones may submit a video OR an online story with photo.

• Video entries must not exceed two minutes and be no larger than 50 MB.
• Written entries must not exceed 400 words and must be accompanied by a photo of the Local Hero, preferably in a wheelchair, that is no larger than 5 MB.

VOTING: Spread the word! People may log in with their Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ or directly through  MobilityAwarenessMonth.com to vote daily from May 1–May 31, 2015.  You will need a dealer code to enter. You can contact any one of Superior Van & Mobility’s nine locations for the code. One vote will be accepted every 24-hours per email address. At the time of voting, visitors will be asked a different question regarding mobility options and the promotion. If the question is answered correctly, the Local Hero will receive two votes. If the question is answered incorrectly, the Local Hero will receive one vote and the correct answer will be displayed.

Earn 1000 Bonus Votes!

Want to earn 1000 bonus votes? It’s easy, just visit any one of our nine locations during the voting period for a FREE needs assessment and the bonus votes will be posted to your entry within a few days.

Winners will be announced June 18, 2015, and wheelchair accessible vehicles will be delivered between July and Sept.2015.

Good luck!

sbaklogowhite3

Spina Bifida Holiday Parties – Dec. 7th – 15th

Holiday parties are the most wonderful time of year at SBAK! These parties are a chance for you to connect with other families in your area, have a great (free) meal, and celebrate the holidays with SBAK. Every child gets to meet Santa and receives a stocking full of goodies. There are now holiday parties all over the state! This year the Holiday Parties will be held in Lexington, Bowling Green, Pikeville, Owensboro, and Louisville.

December 7th – Bowling Green Holiday Party

Time: 5:00-7:00pm

Location: Ryan’s Steakhouse

1920 Mel Browning Street, Bowling Green, Ky

December 13th – Lexington Holiday Party

Time: 6:00-8:00pm

Location: Gattitown

2524 Nicholasville Rd., Lexington, Ky

December 14th – Pikeville Holiday Party

Time: 12:00-2:00pm

Location: Gatti’s Pizza

274 Cassidy Blvd., Pikeville, Ky

December 14th – Louisville Holiday Party

Time: 1:00-3:00pm

Location: Fern Creek Christian Church

9419 Seatonville, Rd., Louisville, Ky

December 15th – Owensboro Holiday Party

Time: 1:00-3:00pm

Location: Ryan’s Steakhouse

4500 Frederica Street, Owensboro, Ky

Kids Center logo at Superior Van & Mobility

Kids Center Fashion Show

Fashion Show

Since 1959, the Kids Center for Pediatric Therapies has been helping children with special needs. Each week we see over 300 children facing challenges such as autism, Down syndrome, spina bifida, and cerebral palsy. We help these children and their families discover the ability in disability.

Get in the Holiday Spirit by joining us for our 12th Annual Holiday Fashion Show where you will get to see our kids shine! Some walk, some roll but all shine! Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 22nd from 2 to 4 pm. Tickets are just $10 at the door and we’d love to have the public attend as well as the fans of our adorable clients.

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