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

March 16, 2011

DOE Finalizes $50 Million Loan for CNG-Powered Vehicles

Photo of a sport utility vehicle with a large side door that is open, with a wheelchair ramp extending from it.

The CNG-powered MV-1 will feature a ramp and a large side door for wheelchair accessibility.
Credit: The Vehicle Production Group, LLC

DOE announced on March 10 that it has finalized a nearly $50 million loan to support the development of the six-passenger MV-1, a purpose-built, wheelchair-accessible vehicle that will run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The vehicle will be produced by the loan recipient, The Vehicle Production Group LLC, at the AM General Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, the site where the military Humvee and the General Motors Hummer H2 are produced.

The CNG-powered MV-1 will produce lower emissions than gasoline-fueled vehicles. The manufacturer estimates that at full capacity, the project will produce more than 22,000 vehicles per year, creating some 100 jobs in Indiana. The company, a startup in Miami, Florida, says MV-1 is the only purpose-built vehicle that was designed from the ground up for wheelchair accessibility and is the only factory-built, light-duty vehicle to date that meets or exceeds the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The vehicle features a deployable access ramp with a 1,200-pound weight capacity, a 36-inch entryway, and an interior that accommodates up to six occupants, including one or two wheelchair passengers and the driver.

DOE's Loan Programs Office oversees the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program, which backs 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.