Volkswagen of South Africa, in partnership with the Quadriplegic Association of South Africa (QASA), has converted one of its MPVs in order to showcase the mobility solutions available to people with disabilities.
The converted Caddy Maxi Trendline, with a 103kW DSG engine, has been making waves since it was first showcased at the ACSA Disability Trade Show last November and during its first appearance in Nelson Mandela Bay during April.
The Caddy was converted by AMF Bruns in Germany and features a lowered floor, with an automatic lowering suspension, and wheelchair access for a passenger at the rear of the vehicle. It includes a 4-point restraint system to secure the wheelchair and occupant as well as anti-slip surfaces.
The Caddy Maxi, which is usually a 7-seater vehicle, becomes a 5-seater with the rear seats removed in order to accommodate the wheelchair platform. The wheelchair conversion can be done on any of the Caddy Maxi models (this includes the Trendline and the Crew Bus).
Local conversions include an AutoAdapt Turney seat to lift a passenger into the front seat and a VS Hydraulics push-pull hand control to enable a wheelchair user to drive the vehicle.
At the push of a button, the Turney seat moves through a range from inside the vehicle, swivelling through the door opening and lowering the seat to the wheelchair level and back up into the vehicle. This provides an easy transfer from wheelchair to car seat.
The push-pull hand control gives people with physical disabilities the opportunity for a degree of independence and mobility. Pushing the control brakes the vehicles while pulling it accelerates the vehicle. Able-bodied people may still drive the Caddy as it retains full pedal functionality and the steering column is independent of the hand control.
The National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities South Africa (NCPPDSA) gave the Caddy Maxi Trendline and its conversions the thumbs-up; “The universal accessibility of the vehicle allows for independence for all persons with disabilities,” Mr Jakkie Pieters National Vice Chairman for the National Council for Person with Physical Disabilities South Africa (NCPPDSA), said.
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2014/04/local-disabled-vehicle-conversion/