This Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) guide is designed to help you find the best accessible vehicle for your needs.
What is a WAV kit?
The name ‘WAV kit’ simply refers to a set of features that can be added to a vehicle in order to make it more wheelchair friendly. They’re called kits as they come in a set ready for vehicle convertors to fit into the chosen transport, which will need to meet a few requirements to be considered a good option to be converted.
Installing a WAV kit in an appropriate car can make a big difference to the mobility and comfort of both wheelchair using passengers and drivers. The core component of a WAV kit is a ramp. This can be folded in and out of the back of the vehicle as required, and additional features such as winches and back rests can be built in to improve the user experience.
WAV kits are available for both personal and commercial use, including taxis.
How does a WAV kit work?
Once you have researched and found the right option for you or your customers, the WAV kit itself is installed by a specialist vehicle convertor. The partners we work with at Mobility Networks Group are very familiar with the WAV installation process.
For access to the vehicle, WAV's use a standard manual ramp that is hinged and folds out from the rear. Most vehicles are available with a double folding ramp, which allows for a shallower gradient. If a shorter ramp is preferred, this can be done, but it would require lowering the suspension of the vehicle. This can be achieved either with hydraulics or air suspension, whichever is deemed most suitable for the vehicle and end user. Decisions as to the full set-up wanted should all be made before the conversion process begins.
Is a WAV kit the right choice for me and my needs?
Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be of huge benefit to both wheelchair using drivers and passengers. They are ideal if you or your customers have any problems transferring from wheelchair into the seat of the car.
Even if this is not a particular problem, installing a WAV kit gives passengers more choice, as they may feel more comfortable remaining in their chair, particularly if they would need more support otherwise. WAV kits can make a big difference to the feeling of freedom and independence those who benefit from them feel when making journeys.
Can I install a WAV kit myself?
Although the name may imply that you can purchase a kit and make your vehicle wheelchair accessible yourself, a WAV kit should only be installed by a specialist convertor.
Making a vehicle wheelchair accessible is a big undertaking and can involve mechanical work and vehicular alterations that require the correct, up-to-date knowledge. At Mobility Networks Group, we work with a number of trusted partners and can find the right person to do the job for you. They are familiar with WAV kits and can install them quickly, ensuring it’s not long until you have your vehicle ready to use.
What cars can be made wheelchair accessible?
As a general rule, the cars that are best for installing WAV kits in have high ceilings, rear access, and are fairly low to the ground. This means that any sort of hatchback, sedan or estate car is not suitable for this level of conversion.
However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have options. At Mobility Networks Group, we have WAV kits that suit a range of vehicles from the following brands: Mercedes, Ford, Renault, Volkswagen, Peugeot, Fiat, Citroen and Nissan. We can fit WAV kits across a wide range of appropriate vehicles from all of these car manufacturers, fitting the kit that is the best fir for the size and shape of the car or, in some cases, van.
As the size of the WAV kit, and the way in which it is used, will differ from vehicle-to-vehicle, you should read up on the details of the best kit for the car you are looking to purchase before making your final decision. You may find that, in order to get the WAV kit that works best for you or your customers, you might need a different car than expected.
You can see our full range of WAV kits and vehicles here.
How much does a WAV kit cost?
A WAV kit can cost anywhere between €3000 and €5000, depending on the specification. Admittedly, this is quite an investment. However, the difference a properly installed WAV kit can make to you as a driver, or your passengers, is something that many WAV owners find to be completely worthwhile.
If you come across a WAV kit at a price far below the €3000 to €5000 that we’ve outlined, you should be wary of how well the conversion has been done as WAV kits should meet with stringent safety standards
Can I add other features to my WAV kit?
In short, yes, there are a range of additional features you can build into your WAV kit. To get the most out of your WAV kit installation, you should think about how to best adapt it to your needs with the extensions available. It’s important that you consider both what you need now and what you could potentially make use of in future as yours or your customers’ needs are likely to change over time; future-proofing will save you time and money in the long run.
These are the optional features you can choose to have in a WAV kit:
- Extra large ramp
- Forward folding ramp, of particular use when converting taxis
- Securement systems and winches
- Back rest
- Hydraulic lowering system
- Pneumatic lowering system
Some of these features, such as the back rest and securement systems, provide extra comfort and security to those using the system, whereas others, such as the lowering systems are about adjusting the base vehicle to best suit the way in which the WAV kit will be used. Your convertor will be able to talk you through which of these may be relevant to you.