This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

November 24, 2010

DOE Offers $50 Million Loan Commitment to CNG Carmaker

DOE announced on November 22 a nearly $50 million conditional loan commitment to The Vehicle Production Group LLC. The commitment will support the development of the six-passenger MV-1, a factory-built wheelchair-accessible vehicle that will run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The vehicle will be produced at the AM General Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana. Vehicle Production Group estimates that at full capacity, the project will produce approximately 22,650 vehicles per year and is expected to create more than 900 jobs.

According to the new American car company, the MV-1 is the only vehicle that was specifically designed from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility. The vehicle features a 36-inch entryway and a deployable access ramp with a 1,200-pound weight capacity. The interior of the MV-1 accommodates up to six occupants with an optional jump seat, including a wheelchair passenger and the driver. DOE's Loan Programs Office oversees the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program, which supports the development of innovative, advanced technologies that create thousands of clean energy jobs while reducing the nation’s dependence on oil. DOE has provided more than $8 billion in loans to advanced technology vehicle manufacturers, including Ford Motor Company, Fisker Automotive, Nissan North America, and Tesla Motors. See the DOE press release.