At the Chicago Auto Show, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is partnering with BraunAbility to present a new utility take on the minivan that was recently named 2017 North American Utility Vehicle of the Year.
The wheelchair-accessible BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica features new technology to create the largest interior space, and the widest side door opening and loading ramp in the industry, to not only improve ease of access and exit but also for top manoeuvrability inside for wheelchair users.
“Whether it’s a veteran, a colleague, friend or a family member, there’s a good chance we all know someone with a physical disability who needs help getting to the places and events that matter most to them,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America. “The all-new Chrysler Pacifica is proving to be a lot of things to a lot of people, and now equipped with the BraunAbility technology, it is also the perfect tool to help our customers gain freedom to stay active in their everyday lives.”
The minivan features AccessAbility technology such as an aerospace-inspired sliding door extension and entry ramp, rear axle space innovations, and cantilevered seat bases for interior floor space expansion as needed.
This isn’t the first time BraunAbility and Chrysler brands have collaborated. The two first worked together 45 years ago, when wheelchair-bound BraunAbility founder Ralph Braun installed a wheelchair lift on a full-sized 1972 Dodge Ram Van, creating the world’s first commercialized wheelchair-accessible vehicle.
“For over 45 years, BraunAbility and Chrysler have worked together to empower people with physical disabilities, including our founder Ralph Braun, to stay connected to what matters in their lives,” stated Nick Gutwein, President and CEO of BraunAbility. “The need for quality mobility solutions is only going to grow, and we are thrilled to align with Chrysler to launch the innovative and uncompromising BraunAbility Chrysler Pacifica."
The two are also joining in support of the ‘Give a Dog a Job Program’ from Canine Companions for Independence — the largest non-profit provider of service dogs in the US — which helps Americans with physical disabilities compete everyday activities, including getting in and out of wheelchair accessible vehicles.
“BraunAbility and Chrysler Pacifica are a natural fit as a partner for Canine Companions for Independence,” says Canine Companions CEO Paul Mundell. “Canine Companions was the first and now largest provider of assistance dogs for people with physical disabilities. The synergy between adapted vehicles like the BraunAbility Pacifica and the intelligence and life-changing skills of a Canine Companions assistance dog are seamlessly giving independence — and giving a dog a job.
“Seeing a Canine Companions assistance dog working with its partner in and around an adapted vehicle is a testament to the adaptability of our assistance dogs and their ability to enhance independence for a person with a disability,” concluded Mundell.