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Wheelchair lift for model X?

Discussion in 'Model X' started by neroden, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    Speculating here...

    Many people with wheelchairs get minivans/SUVs for convenience. Complex modifications may be needed for the wheelchair user to *drive*, but to ride, all they need is a wheelchair lift.

    In addition, we all know that taxis are an excellent market for electric vehicles, because of their duty cycle, and because taxis are usually fairly high-end vehicles. The modern taxi is usually a minivan for capacity reasons. But also so as to be able to mount a wheelchair lift, to provide taxi service for people in wheelchairs.

    The model X, therefore, would really be enhanced by the possibility of an aftermarket wheelchair lift installation. These are usually apparently not that hard to fit in minivans or SUVs -- but will the model X be designed with this in mind? Of course, a factory-made one would certainly be even more popular.

    It should be designed to encourage this. :) I think, as a stockholder, that the (accessible!) taxi market would be particularly good to get into.
     
  2. SByer

    SByer '08 #383

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    Minivans don't fit full lifts particularly well (or at all??). They don't really have the headroom for an adult and the extra space needed for the ramp itself. Far better is BraunAbility Wheelchair Vans: Entervan | BraunAbility this solution (it's what my brother's minivan has now). Even then, the minivan has to have it's floor lowered (for headroom) and the suspension of the minivan is modified to lower the rear suspension when the ramp is in operation.

    The previous van we used was a full-sized Ford van. Atrocious beast (my brother laughed when I would 'punch it' to get on the freeway and do my best Scotty impression - 'we canna do it, captain' - all that sound and fury and waiting for something to happen), and vertical lifts aren't as reliable as the ramps (though the ramps are not suitable for everyone - heavy electric wheelchairs can be more of a challenge with the ramps). It's a basic rule - the more joints, folding pieces, motors, and pistons in a lift, the more things to break. The Ford also swallowed gas like it was vodka. You could literally see the needle moving at highway speeds.

    The best vans we had were VW Vanagons - not as small as minivans, so could fit the vertical lift without floor mods, and with the camper top had good headroom. It drove better than the Ford full-sized van, too. Heck, the first one even had a stick shift (though with the stick length was a fun rubbery row through the gears). The Eurovan went too small, and is pretty much just another minivan.


    I think there are going to be a number of reasons that the Model X won't work for wheelchair lifts, and probably can't be made to do so. If it's even a little bit SUV-ish, well, SUVs are totally incompatible with lifts. The Model X's aluminum chassis doesn't allow for good attach points (vertical lifts need to attach to the frame). And if it's even a little bit towards crossover from minivan, there won't be enough headroom.
     
  3. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    :-( You're probably right. Oh well, someone else will corner the electric taxi market.
     
  4. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I'm not even sure having a chair lift is a necessity to get into the ev taxi game. How many cabs running around NYC have one vs don't? I'm also a stockholder, and I'd rather tesla NOT waste their time with something with an extremely limited use case
     
  5. Robert.Boston

    Robert.Boston Model S VIN P01536

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    Lifts are usually added by aftermarket companies, anyway.
     
  6. jcstp

    jcstp Active Member

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    Mercedes sells adapted Sprinters and other cars from the factory
    Mercedes-Benz Deutschland - Fahrhilfen - Fahrdienste


    I have a VW Carravelle with undertraylift
    [​IMG]
    www.amf-bruns.de: T5

    It is produced and installed by AMF but keeps the factory warranty!

    I hope TESLA will one day make a van that is accessible for me!
    As I am used to using an electric wheelchair, the advantages of electric mobility is a no brainer for me! Just the fact not to stop at patrolstations is a big time-saver!
     
  7. neroden

    neroden Happy Model S Owner

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    There are major lawsuits about that, actually... Google it. London's taxis are considered to be all-accessible, and other cities will follow.

    Specifically, cities which (1) have any regulations on what cars can be used for taxis, and (2) have a national equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The first factor causes the choice of taxi vehicle to be a government action, and the second means that government actions have to do their best to provide access to the disabled.

    New York fits both requirements and is probably going to be forced to convert to all-accessible taxis sooner or later.

    Small cities which don't have Taxi and Limousine Commissions will obviously not be in this situation.
     

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