About Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

If you are new to the concept of wheelchair accessible vehicles, which are also known as WAV for short, you might have a few questions before you are ready to make your first purchase. That’s why we’re here to help you make the right decision and find the best vehicle for your needs.

Let’s go right back to the start. What is a WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle)? The concept is quite simple. At FMC Cars, we convert cars, vans and MPVs into vehicles that can accommodate a wheelchair that cannot be folded down, such as when the user needs to remain seated in their chair at all times. This means the wheelchair user will either be seated in the rear of the vehicle or in the front of the vehicle, all whilst remaining in their wheelchair.

Types of WAV

There are different types of wheelchair accessible vehicles, depending on your needs and requirements.

Ride Upfront

Ride upfront wheelchair accessible vehicles allow the wheelchair user to drive in through the rear of the vehicle, right up to the front passenger space, so they can be seated next to the driver. This gives the wheelchair user a clear view of the road ahead, offering a more comfortable journey.

The ride upfront option usually means you compromise on additional passengers’ seats as space is needed in the rear for the wheelchair to navigate through the vehicle.

Alternatively, you can opt for the side entry ride upfront option, which has a ramp attached to the passenger side rather than the rear. This allows you to maintain your additional passengers seats, but it does mean you need to consider a suitable parking space so you have room to wheel the chair in from the side.

Rear Ramp Access

One of the most common conversions is the rear ramp access, which allows you to wheel a wheelchair into the rear of the vehicle using the foldable ramp.

Having the wheelchair user seated in the rear means you can still take advantage of additional passenger seats as less space is taken up for the conversion.

Automatic Lift

If you need to accommodate a larger wheelchair or a mobility scooter, an automatic lift might be the better option for you, as it makes it much easier, and safer, to lift the chair into the vehicle.

The automatic lift uses a remote control to lift the chair up to a level where it can manoeuvre into the cabin area.

Choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)

When the time comes to choose a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you might want to learn a bit more about how they work before making your decision, especially if it is your first WAV purchase.

In the same way that all vehicles have different specification, so do wheelchair accessible vehicles. Some have side entrances for the wheelchair to access to front passenger area, whereas others have rear entry that have a ramp into the rear of the vehicle, so the wheelchair can be wheeled into the rear passenger area.

How many seats you need

Our range of wheelchair accessible vehicles come with either 3, 4, 5 or 6 passenger seats, but this will depend entirely on the make and model of car.

For example, the Peugeot Boxer can accommodate up to 6 passengers (including the driver), plus the wheelchair user. There is also a sliding side door so your other passengers can enter and get seated before the wheelchair user is wheeled into the vehicle using the ramp.

These 6-seater WAVs are often much larger than vehicles that can accommodate only 3 passengers and the driver so it’s a consideration to make when deciding how many seats you will need.

The length of the Peugeot Boxer is 4,963mm whereas the Citroen Berlingo Multispace, which accommodates 3 people plus the wheelchair user, comes in at 4,380mm in length. This difference of 583mm (or 0.5m) can make a difference when it comes to parking your wheelchair accessible vehicle on a driveway or in a garage.

How to look around a WAV

We understand that if you have mobility issues, coming to test drive or view a vehicle can be a challenging experience. This is why we offer nationwide delivery, with free delivery up to 200 miles from Kidderminster. You will have the opportunity to see the car, which will be demonstrated by our knowledgeable team member, and we can even leave the vehicle if you decide it is the right one for you.

Alternatively, you can visit our dealership in Kidderminster, Worcestershire to see the vehicles we have on offer, take a look inside the vehicles and ask our team any questions you may have.