Everything You Need To Know About WAVs


Here at Bristol Street Versa, we specialise in WAVs, to help wheelchair users get out and about and enjoy life to the full. It can be quite daunting to know which WAV to go for, especially if this is your first time choosing one, so we’ve put together this guide to help you find out everything you need to know about WAVs.

What does WAV stand for?

WAV stands for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle.

What is a WAV?

A WAV is a car or van that has been converted to enable a wheelchair user to travel either as a driver, as an up-front passenger, or as a passenger in the back of the vehicle.

How do Bristol Street Versa WAVs differ from Drive-From-Wheelchair, Internal-Transfer and Up-Front Passenger Vehicles?

In these other WAV conversions, the wheelchair user sits in the front of the vehicle in either the driver position (drive-from-wheelchair or internal-transfer) or in the passenger position (up-front passenger).

In a Bristol Street Versa WAV conversion, the wheelchair user sits in the back of the vehicle either within a row in larger vehicles, or by themselves in smaller vehicles.

What is the difference between a WAV and a Specially Adapted Vehicle?

A specially adapted vehicle features adaptations to driver controls to enable those with disabilities to drive the car (this varies from remote control devices to pedal modifications, from steering aids to hoists). A WAV is solely adapted to enable travel by a wheelchair user seated in their wheelchair.

How do wheelchair users gain access into the WAV?

In a WAV, access is usually either by a manual ramp or an electric lift operated by remote control. In most WAVs, the wheelchair user will access through the rear of the vehicle. However, in some WAVS, like our Volkswagen Caravelle, entry can be gained using an electric lift fitted to the side sliding door.  This is sometimes preferable depending on where the wheelchair user is most likely to enter/exit the WAV.

How do WAVs keep wheelchair users safe and comfortable on journeys?

Wheelchair tie-downs and occupant restraints (WTORS) are fitted in the WAV to secure the wheelchair and its occupant in the same way other passengers use a seatbelt.

How do I measure the correct seated height?

When sat in their wheelchair, the measurement from the floor to the top of the wheelchair user’s head should be recorded and compared to the entry height level of the WAV. Our WAV Advisors would make sure there is plenty of headroom for the wheelchair user to comfortably enter the vehicle.

Please note: In some WAVs, the height inside the vehicle is more than the entry height so it could still be suitable if the wheelchair user is comfortable with slightly bending their head as they enter.

Am I able to purchase a WAV through finance?

There are many ways to purchase a WAV, including a Hire Purchase Finance Plan* or through the Motability Scheme. To learn more, click here.

Which WAVs do Bristol Street Versa offer?

At Bristol Street Versa, we offer a range of new and used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles. From the popular Ford Connect to the Volkswagen Transporter, we’ll do our utmost to cater to everybody’s needs.

For more information about WAVs please visit www.bristolstreetversa.com/wav-glossary/ or call our friendly team who will be more than happy to assist you in any questions or enquiries you may have.


*We act as a credit broker and not a lender. Finance subject to status and acceptance by approved finance companies. We will introduce you to a limited number of lenders who may be able to help finance your purchase. These lenders may or not pay us for the introduction. A guarantee may be required. Terms and conditions apply.