Wheelchair accessible vehicles
|I Can from Sirus Automotive, from £33,295||Wav-Evolution from Aspect Conversions, from £19,995|
Specialist firms convert MPVs, vans and other vehicles so that you can get in and travel in your wheelchair. If you travel as a passenger you usually sit behind the front row of seats, but some designs allow you to sit beside the driver.
Drive-from WAVs are designed so that you drive from your wheelchair. They can be fitted with a wide range of hand and other controls - this will be done as part of the conversion, which will be tailored to suit you and your wheelchair. A few WAVs are designed so you can transfer to the driver's seat once you are inside.
WAVs either have a ramp or a lift. If you use a ramp, a winch can be fitted to help you get in. All lifts are powered but ramps can either be hand operated (you will need help) or automatic. All drive-from WAVs are designed to be used without help so the doors open and the ramp unfolds at a touch of a button.
The number of passengers a WAV can carry depends on the base vehicle and the conversion. Some carry just the driver and a passenger in a wheelchair, but some will carry five or more additional passengers. Some WAVs have folding or removable rear seats that can be used when a wheelchair is not being carried.
You go in at the rear or the side of the vehicle. Side-entry WAVs can be easier for on-street parking (because you don't need so much room behind, and you don't have to get your wheelchair into the road), but you may not be able to use them in all car parks. The Wav-Evolution (from Aspect Conversions) has a specially adapted front door that lets you enter directly into the driver's or front passenger's space.
There is a large range of WAVs to choose from. Motability have a free guide (here). Mobility Centres will give advice. Contact converters (see our Mobility address list) for detailed information on the vehicles they supply. Always try out a WAV you are considering - converters will bring a demonstration vehicle to you. The Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Converters Association requires its members to provide this service (among other things).
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