Tag Archives: Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Looking for a Wheelchair Van Alternative?

Introducing – VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E Access360 Handicap Accessible SUV

VMI Honda Pilot blog photo

Vantage Mobility International (VMI) has announced the release date for their ALL-NEW, Wheelchair Accessible SUV built on the Honda Pilot chassis. VMI and Honda, what a great combination! VMI will start shipping initial quantities of their new handicap SUV February 9th. Dealers should expect the first of these units to arrive at their locations late February through March 2018, initial quantities will be limited. In fact, rumors pinned initial model year quantities to 500 units nationwide for 2018 (Not confirmed).

Superior Van & Mobility will have several units arriving, however initially not all of our ten locations will have a unit on hand due to allocation limitations. We will be staging initial quantities regionally to provide a wider range of opportunities in allowing all of our customers a chance to test drive. If you are very interested in seeing and taking a test drive of this incredible vehicle, be sure to contact your local Superior location ASAP to inquire about availability. We will be taking deposits from those customers wishing to secure one of the first units.

(see chart below for available Honda Pilot chassis’ for conversion)

So What Sets Apart The VMI Honda Pilot From Its Competition?

VMI Honda Pilot open w_ramp

The all-new VMI Honda Pilot Northstar E with Access360 is the industries newest and largest handicap accessible SUV that features an amazing, unobstructed door opening width of 33.5 inches and a 32” wide manual, in-floor ramp system! This new offering from VMI is going to be a game changer in the wheelchair accessible SUV market as it’s designed to outperform its competitors in every way; More Floor Length; More Cargo Space; More Floor Width; More Overall Interior Space/Maneuverability (Access360); More Headroom; Wider Ramp; and Wider Door Opening. (See brief spec sheet below)

VMI Access360 – Designed for Comfort and Enough Maneuverability for Large Wheelchairs

Honda Pilot Access 360 interior

Who is the Target Customer?

The first edition of the 2018 VMI Honda Pilot wheelchair accessible SUV is initially designed with the caregiver in mind; a wheelchair user who travels with a dedicated caregiveHonda Main Photor full-time. Initially, the Honda Pilot from VMI will only be available with the same ramp system found in its other Northstar E vehicles; a (MANUAL) In-floor ramp and door operating system. This time tested ramp deploys and stows with unmatched ease by utilizing VMI’s exclusive ramp-on-the-stick technology; by far the easiest operating system of any manual ramp on the market today. In fact, if you are a caregiver, you owe it to yourself to try the ramp-on-a-stick ramp system from VMI. The difference and ease of operation is unmatched!

NOTE: Initial talks, while not yet confirmed, have discussed VMI adding a fully power in-floor ramp and door option in the near future for those who don’t travel with a caregiver.

Manual Door and Ramp Operation

The Honda Pilot Northstar-E conversion features a patented, ultra-low, manual in-floor ramp system with an astonishing 32 inch width that allows for safe entry and exit of much larger wheelchairs. The ramp easily and conveniently stows and deploys from underneath the floor, creating additional interior space and maneuverability for the wheelchair user and his/her passengers. The ramp is made from a high strength aluminum alloy, and can support loads up to 800 lbs.

Removable Front Seats

The obstacle free front seats allow for easy removal, creating multiple seating arrangements for the wheelchair user and passengers. The space is large enough to accommodate two wheelchairs side-by-side if needed.

Headroom and Lowered Floor

The floor from just behind the firewall to the third row seat in the VMI Honda Pilot SUV is dropped a maximum of 16 inches to create the industry’s largest available headroom of any handicap accessible SUV. This drop in the floor also creates a usable door opening height of 55.5 inches, which makes the VMI Honda Pilot Northstar-E Access360 a great alternative for even the tallest seated wheelchair user.

Towing Capacity

As an added option, the 2018 VMI Honda Pilot is available with an integrated towing capacity of 3500 lbs. This large towing capacity further enhances the usage and capabilities of owning an SUV over a traditional minivan.

Honda Pilot Spec Sheet

 

2018 Available Chassis’ For Conversion:

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Purchasing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle? What You Need to Know…


Today, there are more choices than ever when it comes to the types

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

Wheelchair Accessible SUV

of vehicles being converted into wheelchair accessible transportation. Because of this, buyers now more than ever are able to fulfill their personal desires through vast amenities, size options, and vehicle functionality. The days where minivans were all one could choose have past; buyers can now select from various pickup trucks and SUVs. However, it’s also because of this new opportunity things can get a little overwhelming and cause many buyers to lose sight of their basic, situational needs.

This is where it becomes important to make sure you work with a mobility consultant; someone well versed in various vehicle types, to ensure your personal needs are not overlooked, or sacrificed for a personal want. A mobility consultant will help you stay focused by assessing your exact needs, budget, and personal desires. Together they will use this information to ultimately recommend the type of vehicle to best suit your CURRENT and FUTURE situation.

So, where should you start ?

First, start with the most important step, and that is to get in touch with a mobility consultant for an assessment. Here is where you will not only be addressing your wants, but your needs. You will be measured, if necessary, to help in assessing your current situation. Future needs will also be assessed. I cannot stress enough the importance of this step!

After your assessment, you and your mobility consultant will have discussed your best options. These recommendations will be based, first and foremost, on your personal needs and necessary fit. You may receive a recommendation involving several vehicle types, or you may get only one. Keep in mind, your functionality, comfort and safety should always come first. Be sure you look past any wants that may struggle to accommodate your personal needs. With mobility vehicles, it’s a bad idea to shop for a vehicle based solely on looks and wants. It is important that you DO NOT struggle to fit, or operate a vehicle, no matter how your think you look driving!

Next, do your research –

Your mobility consultant will be able to provide to you information to evaluate any vehicles recommended. You may also find additional information on the company’s website, manufacturer’s website, or Internet (be careful that you utilize reliable sources). As you can imagine, there is a lot of bad, or incorrect information out there as well. Also, be wary of any company who tends to only sell their products over the internet. There have been many stories that didn’t end well. Most of which resulting from a buyer unable to try the vehicle before they buy, or a vehicle requiring service with no service facility nearby. Which takes me to my next point…

Review a dealer’s total offering and look, or request testimonials –

Be sure when you are ready to purchase, you do so from a reputable dealer, and one that is a member of NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) and is part of their QAP (Quality Assurance Program). Learn more about QAP and NMEDA here.

Look for a dealer that provides great service, both before and after the sale. Remember, a good dealer will be sure they address your immediate and future needs with your purchase, and provide a compassionate, understanding and caring environment.

Check out their service department and ask questions. How long have their technicians worked on mobility vans? Do they use factory parts? Do they offer 24/7 emergency service in their service area? (Nothing could be worse than getting stranded with a mechanical failure at 2 AM on the side of the road with no one to help, or the knowledge to assess and repair your problem).

These are all great questions to ask, and ask as many as you can think of until you feel comfortable, and by all means, review any company testimonials. If you cannot find any online, ask your dealer for some. Most, if not all, should have plenty of customer testimonials to provide and they will help you evaluate the past experience of other buyers.

Lastly, protect your vehicle against costly repairs –

While this is an option and 100% voluntary, be sure you assess your needs and options with your mobility consultant in protecting your vehicle mechanically from any costly, future complications and expenses that may arise.

With wheelchair accessible vehicles, buyers generally keep them longer than most, and it is inherently more important that the vehicle performs properly every time it is needed. However, mechanical failures can arise, and some can be costly due to the nature of the mechanics involved in design. Before you sign and take delivery of your vehicle, be sure you fully understand any service plans your dealer may offer to protect your vehicle against costly mechanical failures that may arise outside the manufactures warranty period (if any). To help in determining if a protection plan is for you, a dealer should be able to provide to you a list of various repair types and the costs incurred without protection.

Two Local Heroes Take Delivery Of New Wheelchair Accessible Vans!

The DeLuca Family
Kristen DeLuca prayed for a healthy child all through her pregnancy. When her son Connor was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Type 3, at two years old, she didn’t fall apart or give up. She decided to make sure his life was as full and as normal as possible. At five years-old, Connor uses a power wheelchair for mobility. However, Kristen refuses to say “my son just can’t do it” and instead consistently asks “how can I make my son a part of that?” A part of living that philosophy is the proper transportation for their family. When we met the DeLuca family, they were driving a 2002 minivan that had 150,000+ miles and were using a trifold portable ramp to load Connor’s chair. In March, the DeLuca family participated in the local MDA Walk Fundraiser where they met Paul Erway and Todd Winchester with Superior Van & Mobility. After chatting with them about van options (new, used, side entry, rear entry), Todd and Paul told them about the Local Hero Van Giveaway contest sponsored by NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) and part of National Mobility Awareness Month. Kristen entered the contest with hope that through votes for her son’s story, they would win a new lowered floor wheelchair accessible van for her family. Although the family did not win the van, they did learn a lot about van options and choices through Todd and Paul. After shopping and comparing some vans through the summer, the family attended the Superior Van & Mobility October Open House where they were able to secure a pre-owned Vision Conversion / Rear Entry Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle! Congrats!

The Hall Family
A Shelbyville, KY family finally received the wheelchair accessible van they long wished for! Glenn Hall is a 14 year old that was born with a rare chromosomal disease, partial trisomy 6Q, and is confined to a wheelchair. Partial trisomy 6Q is an extremely rare chromosomal disorder in which a portion of the 6th chromosome is present three times rather than twice in the cells of the body. Due to this disorder, many children suffer from slow physical development, abnormal bending or extension of certain joints, and other physical abnormalities. In early Spring 2012, the Hall family entered the same Local Hero Van Giveaway contest sponsored by NMEDA (National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association) as the DeLuca’s. They too did not win a wheelchair accessible van, however, their drive on Facebook to gain votes for their story drew attention from their community, specifically from the local First Christian Church which formed an official “Van For Glenn” fundraising committee. After getting attention from the Shelby County Community Charities as well, the entire city pitched in and helped raise money through events like bake sales, cookouts, and a dinner with silent auction. The goal was to raise enough money to purchase the lowered floor conversion van by Christmas Eve, 2012. Their fundraising efforts were so successful that the family was able to take delivery a month and a half before their goal date at the “Light Up Shelbyville” tree lighting ceremony on November 10th. Superior’s own Paul Erway was present for the van presentation and was involved with fundraising efforts and the BraunAbility Companion Van purchase rom the beginning. Congrats to the Hall family and we look forward to hearing about how they are using their new van!

Grant Winner Takes Delivery of His Wheelchair Accessible Van

Kyle Gerike is 16 years old and was born with Spina Bifida at a T4 level. Their family car was a Chevy Blazer. As many of you can relate, Kyle’s mother and father had to physically lift him in and out of their vehicle several times a day, along with breaking down and reassembling his wheelchair. After many years of this routine, the tugging and pulling was not only taking a toll both physically and mentally on Mom & Dad, but on Kyle as well.

The family was informed in August that they were the recipients of a Spina Bifida Grant that would help with the purchase of a lowered floor van conversion. They were very excited, but knew they would need additional financial assistance if they were going to be able to purchase a mobility van for their family. They turned to the Ralph Braun Foundation and applied for one of the $5000 Mobility grants. On October 1st, the winners of the 2012 Ralph Braun Foundation Grants were announced, and the Gerike Family was ecstatic to learn that they had been chosen as one of the $5000 winners. With some help from Superior Van & Mobility finding a special lender that understood the process of financing a lowered floor conversion van (KATLC),the family was able to take delivery of their new vehicle on October 5th.

We were honored to be a part of this special day for this special family! Congratulations to the GERIKE Family!

 

A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Can Keep You Mobile

We all know that using a wheelchair van means you can get around town easily, but did you know that a wheelchair accessible vehicle has many, many more benefits that you might not even be aware of?

Staying indoors all of the time can be detrimental to your health, plain and simple. Everyone knows about the benefits of fresh air. Fresh air can help to increase your circulation, get more oxygen into your blood and clear your head.

This is why most people suggest hitting the pavement when you’re stressed or tired so that you can reignite your senses. What better way to get to a nearby park than with your brand new handicap van? Continue reading