Chassell man hopes low-floor van will become a reality

Chassell man hopes low-floor van will become a reality

CHASSELL — Ed Lahti began his journey designing a low-floor mobile home for his family and now, fifty years later, he’s ready to take that van idea to the roads.

He learned most of his trade through working on cars as a mechanic, and although he’s now semi-retired, he’s pretty much working full-time on this project. Lahti said if he can just get certification, the vehicles can fill the needs of many different sectors.

“I want to build a final one and have it certified for many different markets like the handicap, bus, ambulance, and utility markets,” he said.  “There’s a huge market for this thing.”

So how does it work? An air compressor lifts the car up to 14 inches off the ground and, on command, brings it back down to the ground. And on the inside, it’s quite spacious.

“The back end is probably about 14 feet, as far as interior space length-wise and about seven and a half feet width-wise and seven feet high,” he said.

Lahti said he already has the connections in place to start producing the vehicles and this isn’t the only low-floor vehicle he has made.  But at the end of the day, it’s all about sparking economic development in a community that really needs it.

“My purpose is to put people back to work locally,” he said.  “We have a very high unemployment rate and a lot of these people have companies that would fit our project perfect. So basically, I’ve got all the factories I need to build this thing locally and we’re putting a lot of people to work.  And I have sales for this thing nationwide.”

Lahti is putting the last touches on his final prototype and he hopes by spring of next year, his idea will become a reality on the roads.