9 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) Questions Comprehensively Answered

If you have scoured the UK Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) market lately, you will concur this is one arduous task to tackle. While there are tomes of information regarding other cars in the country, there seems to be a dearth of detailed WAVs information which you can leverage to make an informed choice.

By Stephen

4 min read

Leveraging Automotive Group UK Industry Expertise

Luckily, the Automotive Group UK has risen to the occasion in order to make your life easier if your search for a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) is still stagnating. This is one of the most established companies in the industry with over 38 years’ experience, guaranteeing you professional tested and proven services and products.

Having discovered the gap in information regarding these vehicles, Automotive Group UK called up its experts and other industry honchos to brainstorm and came up with a comprehensive question-answer guide that tackles every conceivable Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) question that has been asked over the years. Take a look:

  1. Which car qualifies for the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) description?

A WAV is an ordinary car whose features have been adapted and modified in order to allow easy access for your wheelchair without necessitating seat transfer. This means the vehicle will have enough space and features to accommodate you in your wheelchair.

  1. Which are the common WAVs in the UK?

At Automotive Group, the best range of vehicles include the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi, Citroen Berlingo and Dispatch Fortune, the Nissan NV200 or the ENV200 Electric.

These are produced to meet European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) specifications to guarantee quality and safety. These WAVs serve a wide market ranging from dealers, Taxi service providers, local authorities, care homes and the largest customer base which is private WAV owners.

  1. What are the common types of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) in the market based on size?

You can choose from a wide range of small, medium and large WAVs depending on your needs. Here is an overview of what each entails:

  • Small WAVs: Fit about four people and feature a lowered floor to allow more headroom and a ramp, instead of a lift, to give easy access. With this lowered floor, the angle of the ramp reduces to make access even easier. Over the last four decades, Automotive Group has created a niche with majority of our vehicles fitted with lightweight or fully automated rear access ramps which are easier and safer to operate as there is less that can go wrong. Rear and side tail lifts form a small percentage of our WAVs access ramps.
  • Medium WAVs: They accommodate 5-7 people and can comfortably allow access for a larger wheelchair. Most medium WAVs feature a ramp, though a lift can also be fitted to ease access into the car.
  • Large WAVs: They are suitable for carrying large wheelchairs and equipment that will be used for mobility purposes. These WAVs can handle day to day commute to work, shopping and other such travelling tasks.

For almost four decades of operations Automotive Group has concentrated on small and medium WAVs which are highly in demand.

  1. What options of WAVs are available in the market based on wheelchair position?

Whether you opt for a large, small or medium vehicle, the position of your wheelchair in your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) can be categorized based on wheelchair positioning inside the vehicle you are driving. Here are the options you can choose from:

  • Passenger WAVs: In this model, you will travel in your wheelchair as a passenger. This can be at the rear or next to the driver depending on your preference and number of passengers in the vehicle.
  • Drive-from-wheelchair WAV: This car model gives you the ability to deploy a ramp, get in, open and close the door and secure your wheelchair using an automatic docking system. This sophistication makes a drive-from-wheelchair WAV more expensive and it requires a lot of modifications. As a result these WAVs form a very small number of AG line of products.
  • The entry position of your WAV can also give another category in this vehicle range. For instance, you will find adverts for rear, side or front entry WAVs in the market. Such classification makes it very easy for you to make a buy based on what you really want in your car.
  1. What are the main features to expect in an ordinary Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)?

Before you hit the market, you need to know what to expect in your WAV lest you end up buying an ordinary, large vehicle just because a dealer convinces you it can accommodate your wheelchair. Features to look for include:

  • Ramps: This is the most critical modification in a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) as it makes access easy. These raised surfaces make travelling on a wheelchair less cumbersome as the ramp eliminates the need for heavy lifting and transfer on to the car seats. A ramp can either be manual or automatic. The automatic ramp operates by the touch of a button making it the most natural choice in this case. Automotive Group supplies light weight rear access ramps that fold below the rear window line to avoid obscuring vision through the rear window.
  • Lifts: A lift can be fitted on a larger WAV to help your caregiver get you into the car without a lot of effort. These automatic lifts make offer a lot of convenience and it is no wonder they are today considered and indispensible part of WAVs.
  1. Should you buy the vehicle and then take it for modifications or should you buy it directly from a conversion dealer?

There are no two ways about buying your WAV. You need to buy this vehicle from an established manufacturer with years of expertise in the industry. WAV specialists from Automotive Group already know what the market needs and optimize this experience to make and supply the most functional vehicles in this category.

  1. Are there WAVs suitable to fit every lifestyle?

This is another question that addresses a major factor in WAV shopping. There is no one-fits-all kind of WAV because modifications are done based on different lifestyle. For instance, a conversion specialist will consider the number of people you travel with regularly, length of your travel and the highest comfort level.

In addition, these experts check regularity of travel, mobility aid equipment that needs storage in the WAV, availability of parking, length of drives in your WAV and issues in adapting an ordinary car into a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV).

  1. What are the main considerations when looking for a WAV?

The most important factor to consider when looking for the best is accessibility and ride comfort including wide lightweight rear access ramps, lowered floor to allow increased head room as many chairs now are very large. In summary, consider:

  • Size of the vehicle: Adequate space ensures you drive in comfort as you travel on wheelchair inside the WAV.
  • Costs: Your budget should guide you to avoid ruining your finances, especially if there is another mobility solution. You can opt for leasing as a more convenient and affordable WAV solution.
  • Efficiency of the vehicle in terms of fuel consumption and compatibility with carbon emission standards. A car that offers low consumption and meets emission standards is an investment because you not only save on fuel, but also avoid penalties due to emissions.
  • Features: The best WAV is not the sleekest in the showroom, but one that has everything you need from ease of access , good head room , good visibility as a wheelchair passenger, uncompromising comfort during travel, and easy and quick to use wheelchair securing system on the floor.
  • Performance: Just because you are driving a WAV does not mean you have to crawl on the roads. As such, look for performance and reliability in the engine of the car being modified. Never compromise on a car’s performance because poor functionality is always a precursor to nagging engine problems.
  • Comfort fused with convenience: When test driving a WAV, make sure you test its convenience in terms of offering you the chance to control all aspects of the controls from your wheelchair.
  1. What is the best place to buy a WAV from?

The dealership you buy your WAV from is as important as the vehicle’s functionality. You need to research keenly and identify a dealer who has been in the industry for a long time. AG National Team of advisor offer a wealth of experience to leverage latest technology thus making your vehicle fully functional while also emphasizing safety and convenience.

These established suppliers are also involved in extensive research, design and development of modifications in order to offer you alternative solutions when you approach them with unique needs. More importantly, this company offers customizable solutions because every lifestyle is unique and there can be no one-fits-all WAV in the market.

At Automotive Group UK, you enjoy a no-obligation home demonstration of the WAV you want to buy, which means you will only use your money when totally satisfied with the modifications.

Shopping for your drive-from-wheelchair WAV or passenger WAV need not be an arduous task as long as you have the right information. With all your pertinent concerns addressed, you just have to click away, identify a credible WAV company, such as Automotive Group UK, and voila!

Make the bold move and get yourself a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV). Your experience on the road will never be the same.

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