During our recent pandemic state of emergency in California, our governor…Gavin Newsom…declared that only electric vehicles would be allowed to be sold (as new) in our state starting in 2035. President Biden declared a similar strategy with a plan that all 50% is all new vehicles sold starting in 2030 will have “zero emissions.”
The question is, where does that leave wheelchair users?
Electric vehicles that are wheelchair accessible basically don’t exist yet and it’s not on Elon Musk’s radar…or any other vehicle maker…at this time. So let’s look at what is available.
Minivans…the most popular type of vehicle for conversion. Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda minivans are the most popular in the U.S. adaptive vehicle market. While you may be able to find a new Chrysler van for under $60k, the Toyotas and Hondas can go for a breathtaking $75k+.
The appeal to a minivan is having more room that a regular car while getting better mileage than a full-size van. There are also numerous options to have a hybrid power plant where you can plug it in to operate in electric mode while the gas engine would kick in when the electric power dwindles. This would add $10-20k to the price.
You can get not too old used vans for about half that price but you really don’t know what you’re getting until you drive it. Making sure you have a warranty and a right of refusal on delivery if you dont’ like it can help with peace of mind on a used purchase.
The next option is for a full size van. The pros are that you have a lot of room, the cons are that you won’t get the mileage you do with a minivan. That is getting better, though.
While a 2014 Ford E-150 van (the last year that Ford made that model) got 12 miles to the gallon in the city and 17 on the highway, the replacement Transit now gets over 15 miles per gallon. That’s about the same as a Chrysler Pacifica minivan.
Still, the price for a new Transit van (or Ram or Mercedes, which are very similar) can go for almost $100,000.