Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) is specially converted from a standard car in order to accommodate your wheelchair. This means that wheelchair users can travel while remaining in their wheelchair, either as a passenger or driver.
The size, shape and design of the WAV will vary depending on the original vehicle used for the conversion, but all WAVs have been specially designed for easy access and safe travelling.
Standard WAV features include:
- A built-in ramp or lifts on larger vehicles
- Access from the side or the back of the vehicle
- A lowered floor or raised roof to allow enough headroom
- Wheelchair tie-downs
There are three different sizes:
These WAVs normally have a ramp, rather than a lift, to allow access to the vehicle. They can have at least one rear seat and can accommodate up to four including a wheelchair passenger.
If you have a larger wheelchair or regularly travel with four or more passengers or have equipment that you need to keep with you, a medium sized WAV might suit your needs.
If you will be regularly travelling with many passengers and require a number of seats, or if you have a large or heavy wheelchair, or a lot of equipment that you need to keep with you, then a large WAV is probably right for you.
The Motability Scheme currently has around 500 WAVs available to lease.
Leasing a WAV
New WAVs are leased through Motability on a standard five-year agreement with a mileage allowance of 100,000 miles. As with all our lease agreements, your worry-free package also includes:
- Insurance, servicing and maintenance
- Full RAC breakdown assistance
- Tyre and windscreen replacement
- Many adaptations at no extra cost
- The option to nominate up to two named drivers
How much will it cost?
The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair by exchanging their Government funded mobility allowance . If you receive either the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance, the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) , the War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement (WPMS) or the Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) you may be eligible to join the Motability Scheme.
New WAVs require an Advance Payment, which must be paid upfront to your WAV converter in addition to your weekly mobility allowance. The Advance Payment amount varies across the range of WAVs.
Many of our WAVs are affordable, however, if you need a WAV but can't afford the Advance Payment, Motability may be able to provide financial help .
Nearly New WAVs
A Nearly New WAV could be a good solution for you if you are looking for a more affordable option but with the peace of mind that leasing a vehicle through the Motability Scheme can offer. Our Nearly New WAVs are available on a three year lease with a 60,000 mileage allowance and at a lower Advance Payment than the equivalent new WAV.
Choosing your WAV
Looking for a new vehicle can be exciting, and when it comes to choosing a WAV there’s plenty to think about. It’s important to take time to think about your lifestyle and how you will use your WAV.
Several practical factors will affect your choice:
- The size of your wheelchair and how much room you need
- The number of people you regularly travel with
- The amount of luggage or equipment that you need to take with you on your journeys
- How you will get in and out
- Layout inside the vehicle; your seating arrangements, safety and comfort
- Your travel habits and the kinds of journeys you will be making
Next steps on getting a WAV
Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of vehicles that you’re interested in, you need to contact the relevant converter. They’ll be able to answer any questions you have about vehicle suitability and will be happy to arrange a home demonstration. It’s best to test drive more than one WAV to make sure you find the right vehicle for your needs.
WAVs that wheelchair users can drive
The vast majority of WAVs are converted so that the wheelchair user travels as a passenger, usually in the rear of the vehicle. However, if you wish to drive yourself, there are WAVs available for this to happen.
Watch our film
For more information why not watch our short film: ‘A steer in the right direction’ . This film follows three families on their quest to find the right vehicle for their individual needs and highlights the most important areas of consideration when selecting a WAV.