Vehicles which have been adapted or converted so that they have easy access for wheelchairs are know as ‘Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles’ or often shortened and refered to as WAV’s. Most often the vehicles used are Multi Purpose Vehicles (MPV) as they are the ideal size in order to gain entry and remain seated in the wheelchair but also so that they are not too big and unpractical for everyday family use. Here at The Accessible Planet we have put together a guide to Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles that covers the different types and questions that you may need answers for.
We work with the leading dealers across the UK covering your every need from brand new to hire and lease – we also have the largest online stock showroom of used WAV’s – you can easily find the most suitable vehicle for you and contact dealers direct.
Large WAV – access is via drop down manual ramp and the wheelchair user is seated in the rear of the vehicle.
So what are wheelchair accessible vehicles or ‘WAVs’ as they are popularly known? Although it may seem obvious, it is always worth ensuring we all know what we are talking about. Wheelchair accessible cars are vehicles that have been built or modified to allow someone using a wheelchair to gain access into the vehicle whilst remaining seated in their wheelchair.
There are four main types of WAV, the first is a passenger only vehicle, in essence this is where the person in the wheelchair is not the driver, and cannot or does not wish to access the driving position. These can very in size from small cars right through to large multi-passenger vehicles, they also vary tremendously according to the needs of the users, and where the passenger wishes to travel, i.e. upfront or somewhere within the rear of the vehicle.
Our aim is to become the complete guide to everything and anything accessible – for wheelchair users and those with reduced mobility.
From personal experience – find out more about us here – we understand the importance of what ‘wheelchair accessible’ involves and how sometimes it can be difficult to find. TheAccessiblePlanet.com ™ is growing every day and we are confident we will soon have everything that you need.
What is a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle?
So what is a wheelchair accessible vehicle or ‘WAV’ as they are popularly known? Although it may seem obvious, it is always worth ensuring we all know what we are talking about. Wheelchair accessible cars are vehicles that have been built or modified to allow someone using a wheelchair to gain access into the vehicle whilst remaining seated in their wheelchair.
The second and third types basic types of wheelchair accessible vehicle are those designed to be driven by the wheelchair user and are described as either internal transfer WAVs or drive from wheelchair WAVs.
The fourth type of Wheelchair access vehicle is the motor-trike where the rider gains access to the trike via a rear ramp and then pilots the vehicle seated in their wheelchair. There are also various motorbike and trike conversions where the rider transfers to the seat and then carries the wheelchair somewhere about the vehicle.
Drive from wheelchair’ are vehicles where you do not need to get out of your chair and can access the vehicle straight to the drivers position.
You may only need an accessible adapted vehicle or a car with hand controls for a short period of time and this is often the case in which case you will be looking for wheelchair accessible vehicle hire. You can hire a vehicle from a shorter time as 1 day to 6 or even 12 months lease. We are pleased to be able to offer this service and can provide a quote for WAV hire anywhere across the UK!
The choice of base vehicle and the conversion you go for will be based on two main factors. The first and fundamental factor will be ensuring that the vehicle you choose can do the job you require of it. So if for example you want to transfer from your chair internally to drive and you have three other family members and one or two personal assistants working with you then you are going to need a fairly large vehicle, or you can go right down to a very small vehicle converted for a driver, driving from their wheelchair and one passenger. The second factor is once you have established which vehicles from which conversion specialists meet your access needs, you can choose form those the vehicle you like most.
Within each size bracket of vehicle there are additional choices about whether you prefer or need rear or side access, whether you need ramps and winches or vertical lifts, manual or electronic tie downs for the wheelchair, importantly if it is available with an automatic gearbox if this is a requirement, and what additional driving controls or adaptions or needed. With our network of used stock you can search through what is available in the UK and find the most suitable type, size, make, model and price for you!
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Hire and Rental:
As you can imagine, when vehicle are already expensive items, including the additional costs of conversions and adaptations can make WAVs extremely expensive, and it almost goes without saying that the more complicated the specifications you need the greater the cost of the vehicle.
The is an increasing supply of second hand WAVs as people who already have them, change them for a new version, a supply of which can be found by searching above or click here.
If you know what you need and can find a vehicle that meets or closely meets that need, then sourcing a used vehicle can be a great way of acquiring your WAV.
However for many people the need for an assessment and financial support to get there WAV is the only way forward and this course can be followed by applying to the specialist Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle section of Motability and where appropriate the Driver Solutions Team.
New wheelchair accessible vehicles such as the popular Fiat Doblo, Renault Kangoo, Kia Sedona, Skoda Roomster, VW Transporter, Fiat Multipla and Mercedes Sprinter.
Minibuses are also available with ramps and lift access so that they are fully accessible and you can remain seated in your own wheelchair for the journey. Wheelchair minibus to hire and for sale.
As a piece of advice from The Accessible Planet: If you have any questions about what is the right WAV to meet your needs then get an assessment from one of the regional driving assessment centres. If you are going via Motability they may pay for your assessment, but even if you are going it alone, then our advice would be to pay for an assessment to ensure that you get the best vehicle for your situation,hich may save you a great deal of money and heartache in the long run rather than buying a vehicle that wont do the job you bought it for.
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