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Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV)

Choosing a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle is a big decision to make and we want to help you find a vehicle that will meet your needs now and in the future. Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) are vehicles that are specially converted so a wheelchair user can travel either as a passenger or a driver without needing to transfer out of their wheelchair. Size, shape and design of WAVs will vary depending on the original vehicle that is used for the conversion and the company that converts it.

Leasing a WAV on the Motability Scheme

If you have at least 12 months remaining on one of acceptable allowances for the Motability Scheme, then you can lease a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV):

Advance Payments

All WAVs require an Advance Payment to cover the full cost of the lease. An Advance Payment is the fixed, non-refundable amount payable up front to your WAV supplier in addition to your weekly mobility allowance.

An Advance Payment is needed on WAVs as your mobility allowance doesn’t cover the cost of these larger and more expensive vehicles. Advance Payments are calculated by considering factors such as the cost of the WAV, it’s servicing and maintenance and its expected resale value at the end of your contract.

Many of our WAVs are affordable; however, if you need a WAV but can't afford the Advance Payment, Motability (the charity) may be able to provide financial help .

If you would like optional extras with your WAV such as parking sensors or separate air conditioning controls for the back of the vehicle, your WAV supplier will be able to give you a price for these. But please note that payment for these will be dealt with separately from the Advance Payment.

Is a WAV right for you?

If you are no longer able to transfer from your wheelchair to a car seat, or if your carer can’t lift you, then a WAV could be the solution. Motability UK has over 20,000 WAV customers who value the independence their WAV gives them. However, a WAV might not be right for everyone and you should weigh up the pros and cons.

What are the other options?

There are alternatives available if you don’t feel that a WAV is the right vehicle for you – but it’s important that any vehicle you choose supports your needs now and for the duration of your lease.

If you are able to transfer out of your wheelchair without it causing too much discomfort then a standard car fitted with adaptations may be a better choice. Adaptations such as a transfer plate, person hoist or swivel seat could help improve your access to a car. There is also a wide range of adaptations available that can help you stow your wheelchair or scooter, such as a boot hoist or rooftop stowage box.

Drive From Wheelchair Vehicles (DFWs)

If you would like to drive a WAV yourself , there a few types of vehicle that can be converted to allow this. These vehicles require driving adaptations tailored to suit your individual needs and you will need to get more specific advice. However, it’s important to remember that these vehicles are an expensive option and take much longer to arrive.

Nearly New WAVs

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to lease a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) through the Motability Scheme then a Nearly New WAV might be the right vehicle for you.

What is a Nearly New WAV?

Nearly New WAVs are WAVs that have been returned to Motability UK from another customer after less than three years. All Nearly New WAVs are carefully checked by a Motability approved supplier, before being offered as alternative option.

Is a Nearly New WAV the right for you?

Yes if:

  • One is available that suits your needs
  • You need to get a WAV quickly
  • You need a WAV but would like a lower Advance Payment
  • You’d like a shorter lease length.

However, there are a few things to consider:

  • Not all new WAVs are available as Nearly New
  • There is a limited amount of stock available
  • While each Nearly New WAV is quality checked, you should expect some wear consistent with its age

Ensuring you have the right vehicle to suit your needs is really important, as it will be a big part of your life for the next three years.

The Difference between New and Nearly New

The Difference New WAV Nearly New WAV
Lease length 5 years 3 years
Mileage allowance 100,000 60,000
Vehicle age Brand new Less than three years old
Delivery times On average, 12-16 weeks A few weeks or less
Advance payment WAV dependant Less than the equivalent new WAV


Contact Us To Find Out More

PREPARING FOR A WAV DEMONSTRATION

A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) demonstration will consist of a number of different things; including a test drive and being shown how all the features of the WAV work such as ramps, lifts and wheelchair tie downs.

Customer experience tells us that there’s nothing like having a demonstration to see how one WAV compares to another. One of our Motability Specialists will arrange for you to try a vehicle, but there is no obligation, and you should not feel under any pressure. You need to make sure that you find a WAV that is right for your needs and that you can feel comfortable in. If the WAV you are testing does not feel right, trust your instincts and say so. Take your time during your demonstration so that you’re able to get to grips with everything that you’re going to need to know about a vehicle.

If you’re thinking about a Nearly New WAV , we might not be able to bring the exact model for you to test. But it’s still important that you test one as similar as possible to check how suitable it is.

You may also find it useful to consider the following to help prepare for a demonstration:

  • Involve the people you travel with
    • Bring the people you regularly travel with to the test drive with you.
    • Your carer must be happy helping you into the vehicle, securing your wheelchair and driving.
  • Try the WAV where you will use it
    • During your demonstration visit places and drive on roads you usually would, you want to see if the WAV will fit with your day-to-day life.
    • Get your driver to practice parking and make sure they have clear visibility when you’re secured in your wheelchair.
  • Take your equipment
    • If you normally travel with luggage or equipment then take it to your demonstration so you can check you have enough space.
  • Load and unload
    • You and your carer should practice getting in and out and loading everything a few times.
    • This will help you figure out if you need any extra features to help you get up the ramp in your wheelchair and into position.
  • Practice using the features
    • Your Motability Specialist will demonstrate how all the features of a WAV work.
    • Practice these yourself to check you’re comfortable and confident with them.
  • Think of the future
    • Consider whether your needs might change during your lease – could you need a bigger wheelchair that will impact on the size of WAV you need?
    • Think about whether you might need additional seating in the future for extra passengers.

Once you've found the WAV that's right for you, your Motability Specialist will go through a Suitability Questionnaire (PDF 164KB) with you. This questionnaire will check that the WAV you’re considering, and the Motability Scheme, meets your needs now and for the duration of your lease. Your new WAV will be an important part of your life for years to come.