Chris Gordon plays powerchair football for England, and now he is enjoying the independence of his very own VW Shuttle SE long wheelbase drive from vehicle thanks to Lewis Reed.
Chris was born with spinal muscular atrophy. Over the years, the Gordon family has had various wheelchair accessible vehicles to enable them to go out as a family but as more and more of his friends passed their driving tests Chris wanted to do the same so started to look at drive from vehicles. “When you are younger, you don’t mind relying on friends and family to give you lifts but just because I am in a powerchair doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have the same independence as everyone else,” explained Chris.
Chris has a specialist powerchair for playing powerchair football which means when he is travelling to games with his day-to-day powerchair (which he drives from), his football powerchair, his kit and either his parents, friends or team mates all need to fit in the vehicle. So, in 2016 they decided to look for a new vehicle which would offer more space and allow Chris to continue to drive himself. After researching online, Chris got in touch with Lewis Reed who suggested a VW Shuttle SE wheelchair accessible vehicle.
“From the initial phone call, Lewis Reed were great. They brought a demonstration vehicle to me at home, and after a test drive I knew the VW Shuttle SE would be perfect! I love it, it is very easy to drive despite being quite large and the conversion and space drive system are fantastic. I would not hesitate in recommending Lewis Reed to anyone looking for a WAV,” concluded Chris.
Chris’s vehicle is fitted with a space drive system which operates wirelessly. The system incorporates two joystick controls, one to power the vehicle and accelerate/reverse and a second from which Chris steers.
The VW Shuttle SE driver vehicle generally comes with a number of seat arrangements to suit each individual allowing the wheelchair user to either drive from their wheelchair, as in the case with Chris, or transfer from the wheelchair to a driver seat using an electric six way seat or to choose to be an upfront or rear passenger. In Chris’s case should he decide he no longer wishes to drive, all his passenger has to do is release Chris’s chair from the driving position and reinstate the original driver’s chair which sits behind the front passenger seat. Chris then secures himself and his chair into another space in the vehicle.
Lewis Reed is one of only three official Volkswagen WAV converters in UK. To achieve this certification from Volkswagen, Lewis Reed underwent an extensive audit to ensure it complied with VW’s Commercial and Technical Standards all of which it passed with flying colours. Covering all aspects of the conversion process from the initial design and build through to after-sales support the VW audit ensures every converted vehicle meets the exceptional standards for which all Volkswagen vehicles are synonymous.
Lewis Reed will be showcasing its range of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles on stand G42 at The OT Show on 27-28 November at the Birmingham NEC.
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