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Wheelchair accessible vehicles

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) can be leased for five years. WAVs enable the disabled person to travel as a passenger whilst remaining seated in their wheelchair.

Drive-from-Wheelchair (DfW) vehicles are also available and enable the disabled person to drive without needing to transfer to a seat.

A WAV may be best if you:

  • can no longer transfer from your wheelchair to a standard car seat.
  • have a carer who is no longer able to lift you.
Lady in her wheelchair.

What’s included?

The lease of a new vehicle for five years, with:

  • Insurance.
  • Servicing and maintenance.
  • Full breakdown assistance.
  • 100,000 mileage allowance.
  • Window and windscreen repair or replacement.
  • Many adaptations at no extra cost.
  • Replacement tyres.

WAVs available on the Motability Scheme

There are currently over 28,000 WAV customers on the Motability Scheme, supplied by a range of vehicle conversion specialists across the UK. Any of these vehicle conversion specialists can offer a no-obligation WAV demonstration, for free, at your home. We would always recommend that you have a demonstration, to check that the vehicle suits your needs.

WAVs are available in various size categories including:

  • Small

Most small WAVs accommodate up to four people, including the wheelchair user. They usually have a ramp (rather than a lift), and a lowered floor to give more headroom inside the vehicle. Small WAVs have less space for additional mobility aids or equipment.

  • Medium

A medium WAV may be best if you have a larger wheelchair or if you need to travel with additional mobility aids or equipment. They usually seat between five and seven people including the wheelchair user. Most will have a ramp, but some are available with an electric lift instead.

  • Large

Large WAVs are a good option if you regularly travel with a lot of passengers, if you have a very large or heavy wheelchair or if you have a lot of equipment to transport. They are usually fitted with an electric lift instead of a ramp.

  • Drive-from-Wheelchair (DfW)

Drive-from-Wheelchair WAVs are bespoke vehicles, to allow a wheelchair user to drive the vehicle. Because of their complexity, the timescales and costs involved are much higher than they would be for a standard car or WAV. Drive-from-Wheelchair vehicles will typically cost an average of £20,000 - £30,000 once adapted and some cost much more.

How is a WAV built?

All WAVs start as a standard vehicle before a specialist engineering company makes a number of alterations to allow wheelchair access. The disabled person can remain in their wheelchair during travel or transfer to a seat once inside the vehicle.

The size, shape, and design of the WAV will vary depending on the original vehicle used for the conversion and the specialist company that has converted it.

If you have specific requirements for the seating layout, vehicle options or adaptions, you can discuss this with the conversion company directly, who will be able to give their professional advice.

Due to the extensive process of altering a vehicle into a WAV, they tend to carry higher Advance Payments than standard production vehicles (mass produced, identical vehicles from a production line).

You can search for WAVs available and see the cost of Advance Payments on the Motability Scheme Online WAV SearchOpens in new window .

Alternatively, adaptations are also available through the Motability Scheme to help make travelling as comfortable and safe as possible in a standard vehicle. Find out more about Adaptations .