WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Energy has finalized a nearly $50 million loan to the Vehicle Production Group (VPG) to develop and manufacture a compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the company's MV-1 wheelchair-accessible vehicle. 

The MV-1 is designed from the ground up to meet the needs of people in wheelchairs as well as the demanding duty cycles of fleet operators, VPG said. 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 with the optional jump seat.  

The loan is part of the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program. 

VPG is a portfolio company of Perseus LLC, a merchant bank and private equity fund management company based in Washington, D.C. VPG is based in Florida. 

VPG expects to eventually make more than 22,000 of the vehicles annually at its facility in Mishawaka, Ind. 

For more information, visit www.vpgautos.com.