MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The very first wheelchair-accessible vehicle was unveiled Tuesday afternoon in Miami by Marc Buoniconti.
“Imagine, I’m getting the very first one. I think a vehicle of this kind is way overdue,” said Buoniconti.
The MV-1, known as the “First Mobility Vehicle”, rolled off the assembly line in Indiana in September and was presented to Buoniconti, who suffered a spinal cord injury while playing college football at The Citadel in 1985.
He unveiled the car at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami medical school.
“I’m looking forward to getting in there and doing some 360’s and sitting in the front passenger seat to get the view everybody else gets,” said Buoniconti.
Buoniconti is President of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis.
AM General is making the MV-1 for The Vehicle Production Group based in Miami.
The vehicle starts at $39,950. It allows a person in a wheelchair to use a built-in ramp to get in alone and sit next to the driver, with room for three passengers in back.
Fred Drasner, Chairman of VPG, said in September, “We are proud to be the first automobile manufacturer to provide a person with mobility issues a vehicle that meets all relevant Federal safety and crash test standards and is designed and built to meet their special requirements; ease of entry and exit, an exceptional ride, state of the art technology, unprecedented reliability, quality and durability and an OEM factory warranty.”
He went on to say, “Marc has been involved with the MV-1 project and the design of the vehicle from its inception, and we are pleased that our first production vehicle is going to someone who has done so much to support the disabled community.”
Buoniconti has devoted his life to raising funds for research and raising awareness so that paralysis doesn’t have to be forever.
“I know what an important difference this vehicle will make to my own life,” Buoniconti said when he first received the car in Indiana. “More importantly, the MV-1 will literally transform daily life for wheelchair users and those who care for them, by making it easier to live a freer, more independent life.”