WAV Glossary

Bristol Street Versa WAV Glossary

WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle)

A wheelchair accessible vehicle is a car or van which has been 'converted to allow a wheelchair user to travel as a passenger in the rear of the vehicle. They differ to drive-from-wheelchair, internal-transfer and up-front passenger vehicles where the wheelchair user sits at the front of the vehicle, either as the driver or front passenger.

Wheelchair access

Wheelchair access to a WAV takes the form of either an electric lift or manual ramp. Most WAVs are rear entry, although entry through the side sliding door is also available on our Volkswagen Caravelle.


"Wheelchair tie-downs and occupant restraints" which are basically the restraints fitted to the WAV to ensure the wheelchair user has the same safe & comfortable ride as all the other passengers using their seatbelts.

Entry height

This is a reference to the headroom to enter the vehicle from the highest point on the ramp or electric lift. This measurement is useful to find out if you can enter the vehicle depending on your height and the type of wheelchair you own. To find out, when in your wheelchair, ask someone to measure from the floor to the top of your head. Compare to the vehicle entry height to ensure you have sufficient headroom to comfortably access the vehicle. That said, many customers are happy and able to bend their head slightly to access the car, knowing that the height once inside is often much greater.

Wheelchair dimensions

We'll also need to collect the dimensions of your wheelchair to ensure a comfortable fit in your WAV. This should consider all the most extreme points of your chair such as either from the farthest front to the farthest back of the wheels, or if footplates extend further, or handles extend further back. If you have any questions, we'll be happy to talk you through this.

Seated height

We'll often ask for your seated height when trying to match you to your perfect WAV. Your 'seated height' can be worked out by measuring from the base of your wheelchair's wheels to the top of your head.

Once you've deducted the seated height from the entry height this will give you an idea of your headroom when entering the vehicle.

Channel length

This is the length of the channel which may have been cut into the floor in the vehicle to allow extra headroom for the wheelchair user. Our WAVs with such lowered floors are:

Electric lift

An electric lift is a means to allow the wheelchair user access into the vehicle. They have a number of different weight thresholds which affect the suitability for your wheelchair, but this is something our WAV Advisors would be happy to help with. It is typically remote operated and all have a manual over-ride just in case there is ever an issue with the power. Our vehicles with electric tail lifts are:

Manual ramp

A manual ramp is just that. It is a low-angled ramp which is deployed and stowed by hand. They're usually used on smaller vehicles. Manual ramps normally stand-up next to the tailgate when not in use, but can sometimes be upgraded to fold-flat into the WAV if the wheelchair user is not travelling. Many customers find this really useful as it creates a large boot space. Our vehicles with manual ramps are:


Motability (Operations)

Motability Operations oversees the Motability Scheme which is intended to enable disabled people, their families and their carers to lease a new car, WAV, mobility scooter or powered wheelchair, using their disability benefit. Currently, the Motability Scheme has over 650,000 customers.

Motability Advance Payment (down payment/upfront payment)

The Advance Payment is designed to cover the cost that your mobility allowance wouldn't cover. This is paid at the start of the agreement. It is an upfront payment (not a deposit). They vary from vehicle to vehicle. It's sometimes possible to apply to Motability for a grant which will either entirely cover or help towards these costs. You can call us on 01924 442386 to find out more.

Motability Grant

Motability is a charity in the UK which works alongside Motability Operations to provide grants to customers who would otherwise not be able to afford the Advance Payment for their vehicle.

Learn more about Motability

Disability vehicle/Disabled car

Disability cars and disability vehicles vary. These can cover everything from adapted vehicles where the driver controls are adjusted so a disabled person can drive the car, wheelchair accessible vehicles where a wheelchair user can sit as a passenger in the rear of the vehicle, right through to drive-from-wheelchair vehicles which involve a very bespoke conversion.

Adapted Vehicles

Adapted vehicles usually mean a car where the driver's controls have been adapted to suit a disabled driver. This is a bit different to what we do as we provide converted vehicles where a wheelchair user can travel as a passenger in the rear.

DLA or Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit that helps with the extra costs that disabled people face as a result of their disabilities. DLA is not a means tested benefit and is not affected by earnings, other income or savings. As part of its welfare reform programme, the Government is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) with Personal Independence Payment (PIP). If you receive the Higher Rate Mobility Component as part of your DLA, you can use this to lease your New or Nearly New Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle on the Motability Scheme.

View our WAVs

PIP or Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit that helps with the extra costs of a long-term health condition or disability for people aged 16 to 64. PIP is a non-means tested benefit and is not affected by earnings, other income or savings. If you are in receipt of the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of PIP, you are eligible to lease a New or Nearly New Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle on the Motability Scheme

View our WAVs

Part Exchange

If you already have a car or WAV which you are wanting to sell as part of ordering a new WAV, we will review such a part exchange, although it is not guaranteed.

Safe Working Load

All lifts and ramps used for wheelchair access have a specific safe working load. You will see this clearly marked on the lift/ramp. If you have a heavy wheelchair (e.g. a large power chair), it may be necessary to upgrade the lift/ramp. This isn't a problem, but it's where our Sales Advisors' expertise would ensure you get the right WAV for your requirements.


PAS is a BSI approved standard written by WAVCA (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Converters Association) to ensure the utmost safety of any WAVs built to the PAS standard. All our vehicles are PAS compliant.

Wheelchair Accessible Taxi/Cab

Many councils require a car to be wheelchair accessible to allow it to be licensed as a taxi. We have several vehicles in our range suitable as a wheelchair accessible cab, both providing wheelchair access but also the ever-important good number of rear seats and luggage space.

Still have questions? Contact us today on 01924 442386 to speak with a member of the team

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