Brotherwood Sharan - First for PAS

Brotherwood Sharan Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle First for PAS
 

Over the past 12 years, since the start of the new millennium, there has been an explosive development in IT, with the iPhone and iPad enabling the individual to access information and news at a touch.  There is no doubt that a great number of both large and small companies have capitalised on this technology, which has also benefited the disabled population.

Brotherwood Automobility Ltd is a West Country business that for 28 years has converted cars for transporting an individual seated in their own wheelchair.   From humble beginnings this company, having grown in rural Dorset just south of Sherborne and now employing sixty local craftsmen and personnel, has been at the cutting edge of development in the field of wheelchair accessible transport from the design of their first vehicle in 1984.  With his engineering background the founder, Rod Brotherwood, has cultivated an ethos of continual vision for innovation and compliance that has had an influence throughout the industry across the globe.

Vehicles built to accommodate a person seated in a wheelchair could never be marked as a “sexy” product ie Ferrari, Porsche or Range Rover but Rod Brotherwood’s first mission was to uplift the image of a converted ‘van with windows’ that in the early 1980s was referred to by all as a Popemobile and which put the wheelchair passenger on display.  Rod achieved his first goal with the Brotherwood conversion of the Nissan Prairie which was produced between 1985 and 1995, hundreds of which are still giving daily service in 2012.

Throughout those early years there were no standards or regulations of the conversion industry so Brotherwoods, working in collaboration with the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) devised a testing programme that would see the first converted wheelchair accessible vehicle meet the standards of compliance for Low Volume Type Approval.  That vehicle was the Brotherwood converted Volkswagen Sharan in 1995 which continued in production until 2010.

Throughout those early years there were no standards or regulations of the conversion industry so Brotherwoods, working in collaboration with the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) devised a testing programme that would see the first converted wheelchair accessible vehicle meet the standards of compliance for Low Volume Type Approval.  That vehicle was the Brotherwood converted Volkswagen Sharan in 1995 which continued in production until 2010.

Rod has always been involved in giving the disabled wheelchair passenger the same level of consideration as the able bodied motorist both as a founder member of WAVCA (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters Association) in 2000 and in lobbying the EC Commission in Brussels to ensure that a WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) became a Type in the Recast Framework Directive for Vehicle Type Approval in 2007.

In recent years Rod has been part of the WAVCA Working Group that has worked to establish a new British Standard, PAS2012 to ensure that consideration is given to the needs of the disabled wheelchair passenger.

Recognised across the globe as one of the leading conversion companies through the quality and innovation of its products, the latest Brotherwood conversion of the New Volkswagen Sharan is the first conversion to achieve both European Whole Vehicle Type Approval and meet the compliance for BS PAS 2012.  As Rod says “If an iPad or computer crashes no-one is hurt but we work to give our clients an equal chance of survival to that of any motorist in an accident”.


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