A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) refers to a standard vehicle which has been converted to accommodate a wheelchair. This can vary depending on your circumstances as the wheelchair can be incorporated within the capacity of a passenger or driver, the latter being most suited to Motability customers that can travel on their own and do not require additional assistance. The exact conversion will vary based on the exact dimensions and facilities of the vehicle you have chosen but the primary aim is to enable a wheelchair to access the vehicle whilst still providing useful storage space and passenger seating for others. The result provides plenty of accessibility and flexibility whilst still retaining the typical look and feel of the vehicle you’re driving.
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing your Motability vehicle, particularly if you are thinking about getting a WAV. Not everyone is suited to a Wheelchair Access Vehicle and typically speaking if you are capable of getting into and out of a vehicle without much in the way of discomfort then some of our Motability adaptations may be more appropriate for you, which include hoists and swivel chairs to make it easier to transfer in and out. The extensive range of adaptations also includes innovative solutions for storing your wheelchair or other mobility equipment, such as boot hoists and rooftop stowage which may also be a more helpful solution.
WAVs do offer a number of benefits if they're right for you and your personal circumstances. The simple access for a wheelchair means that less people are required to help the occupant on board. The wheelchair user can simply drive up to the vehicle and directly access the cabin making it very easy to get in and out. The direct access of a WAV can help you feel more independent with less assistance required.
Another alternative to the WAV is a vehicle which can be driven and operated whilst in a wheelchair. These are called Drive From Wheelchair Vehicles, also know as DFWs. These are different from WAVs as the ramp or lift for access can be operated automatically and there will often be less passenger seats in order to accommodate the wheelchair driving position. DFWs often have other Motability adaptations as a full individual assessment will be required in order to ensure all of your needs are met in a suitable fashion. Typically additional steering controls will also be required. The Drive From Wheelchair option tends to be more expensive that the WAV simply because more modifications and adjustments are required in order to safely incorporate a wheelchair into the driving position.