The benefits of wheelchair accessible hybrid vans are endless. These vans provide a range of seating options, including rear, side, and lowered floors. The accessible vans are also commonly equipped with extra floor-to-ceiling clearance. And, unlike traditional vans, these vehicles can transport a second wheelchair user.
4 Benefits of Wheelchair Accessible Hybrid Vans
1. Rear entry
A rear entry of a wheelchair-accessible hybrid van has several benefits, including low cost and no extra maintenance. In addition, rear entry vans fit into any garage, meaning they don’t require additional space to accommodate a ramp or side door. A rear entry van also fits easily into ordinary parking spots.
A rear entry of a wheelchair-accessible hybrid van offers the most excellent ease of use and storage. This configuration can be used by people in a wheelchair or by their caregivers. However, the rear entry has some drawbacks, especially if the driver is in a wheelchair.
While the van does have a ramp for the back entrance, the user cannot access the driver’s position. Additionally, a rear-entry van may not be as convenient to park as a side-entry conversion. In addition, a powerchair user may have to use a ramp to exit the van.
2. Side entry
Side entry wheelchair-accessible hybrid vans provide maximum space and maneuverability. Side-entry vehicles feature lowered floors for wheelchair passengers and can accommodate both a driver and passenger in a wheelchair.
These vans are typically equipped with a side-deployable ramp or a center-cut conversion for easier entry. Popular models include the BraunAbility Dodge Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna Companion Van.
There are several types of side-entry wheelchair-accessible hybrid vans on the market today. The Toyota Sienna Hybrid has a rear-entry conversion, but other manufacturers also make side-entry vans. There are advantages and disadvantages. The side-entry model requires several feet of space.
When looking for a wheelchair-accessible van, consider the level of accessibility you require. For example, while a side-entry van may be less expensive than a full-floor van, a power ramp provides more headroom and better maneuverability. Similarly, a manual ramp can be an excellent choice for a van with limited headroom. You can also opt for a vehicle that has a manual bi-fold ramp instead of a power one.
3. Removable seats
Are you considering a wheelchair-accessible hybrid van? You’re not alone. There are many reasons why a wheelchair user might need this type of vehicle. Besides needing more space for their wheelchair, this type of vehicle also allows you to transport a second person in it. A wheelchair-accessible van usually has lowered floor and rear doors for accessible entrance and exit. It also has rear climate control vents.
The removable seats in a wheelchair-accessible hybrid van are particularly convenient. For example, a Toyota Sienna has space for two wheelchairs side-by-side. In addition, a wheelchair user can take advantage of space upfront that is free of obstacles.
Seat switching technology also makes it easier to switch seats without disrupting their functionality. This means that a wheelchair user can enjoy one of the seats and free up valuable interior space for the other passenger.
A wheelchair-accessible hybrid van should meet federal motor vehicle safety standards, with features ensuring both the passenger and wheelchair are safe while on the road. All-wheel-drive wheelchair-accessible vans, such as the VMI Toyota Sienna Hybrid, offer more excellent traction and control in inclement weather.
The minivan’s Northstar in-floor wheelchair ramp system is a crucial safety feature. The van is crash-tested to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards for added safety.
The minivan is still the most popular option for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. However, SUVs and trucks offer greater towing capacity and advanced features. Like the Chrysler Hybrid Rear Entry minivan, Hybrids meet safety requirements, and environmentally conscious consumers may find these appealing.