Most of us take the notion of independence for granted. Going for a walk, running to the store, playing with our children, driving to work. For many, independence is a daily struggle but @Braun Ability and @Chrysler have been partners for years and have associated once again in a collaboration to assist individuals with disabilities to be exactly that…independent… through the advent of the highly touted and award laden, Chrysler Pacifica.
Ralph Braun founded Braun Ability out of necessity. He himself struggled with independence due to spinal muscular atrophy and was unable to walk by the time he was 15 years old. His station driving his invention, in the 1960s he invented the tri-wheeler (Save-A-Step Manufacturing Co.), wheelchair lift (Lift Away) and steering controls. The vessel for these became a postal Jeep that he converted for his needed purpose and there you have it…independence achieved. Braun Ability was born.
Evolving over the years in to the brand we know today, the release of the Chrysler Pacifica and it’s reveal at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2017 with partner Canine Companions for Independence made for a Braun Ability success story like no other and would have made Ralph very proud.
Brand Manager for Braun Ability, Megan Wegner, echoed this sentiment in referring to Ralph as the “father of the mobility movement”. His desire to serve the “under served population” of those with disabilities drove him. Dynamics that focus on user guided design and development have made Braun Ability the “most trusted” brand. A longtime partner with Chrysler the modifications pursued in order to keep that title are quite involved as this video imparts. Click here: Braun Ability Pacifica Conversion Video
Wegner joined in my excitement about the role Braun Ability and every other auto manufacturer might play in the trend of #autonomous vehicles. Fully automated vehicles would make independence more real at every turn for many consumers. The possibilities are endless and features like blind spot detection, brake assist, 360 degree cameras, and other semi-autonomous elements dot the landscape already, like pins on a world traveler’s map, in today’s rides.
One last point to ponder is the healthy used market for wheelchair accessible transport. Previous conversions and even Braun’s most recent Ford Explorer version make affordability reality. Certified pre-owned status crosses over to these vehicles just like the mainstream market with a five year warranty. Wegner emphasized that in the wheelchair accessible market especially, “peace of mind” and “reliability” are critical. Braun’s website is a starting point for access to one of the over 200 certified dealers in the United States who can help with a search for the right vehicle and financing for families who want to embark on the independence journey.
Photos courtesy of Braun Ability.