Got Questions? We’ve Got Answers

We hope our FAQ’s section is useful to you.

Type Approval

All Sirus mobility vehicles have Type Approval from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA). This provides internationally recognised testing and certification for vehicles and is the confirmation that all products meet specified performance standards.
At Sirus we have 3 different Type Approvals:
National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) which is a UK national scheme, and applies to all Volkswagen Caddy conversions and the Ford wheelchair accessible vehicle conversion.

European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA): This certification is accepted throughout the EU and applies to the Kia WAV conversion.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)
A UK national scheme which applies to our Volkswagen Caddy conversion manual gearbox options and the Fiat Qubo conversion.

Safety

Driving assessment – using the Forum of Mobility Centres, it is possible to have a driving assessment carried out by an independent professional ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) to identify the most suitable driving controls for you. As the type of controls that you require may affect which mobility vehicles you can choose, it is important to understand your exact requirements before you decide on a particular disabled vehicle type. To locate your nearest Mobility Centre visit the Forum’s website at: www.drivingmobility.org.uk/

Finance and insurance

You can buy VAT free if you fill in an eligibility declaration form from HMRC and if the WAV vehicle has been converted prior to its first registration. You also won’t need to pay VAT on maintenance or repairs.
In order to qualify for VAT relief, the WAV vehicle you’re buying must have been designed or permanently adapted for the wheelchair user. It has to be for personal use and can’t carry more than 12 people.
You can get a discount on your vehicle tax, or sometimes be completely exempt. You can check your eligibility for vehicle tax exemption on the Gov UK site (https://www.gov.uk/financial-help-disabled/vehicles-and-transport).

Mainstream insurers are not usually familiar enough with the complexities of vehicle conversions or your needs as a disabled motorist, so sourcing the right insurance policy can be a struggle.
At Sirus we have an exclusive partnership with Fish Insurance so we can offer one year’s insurance on any new or approved used mobility vehicle.* With 1 year’s insurance included, plus the support of our in-house Service and Warranty team you can expect unrivalled service and support throughout your mobility vehicle ownership should you ever need it.
*T&Cs apply

Buying a wheelchair accessible vehicle – your guide

Drive-from WAV vehicles allow the wheelchair user to remain in their wheelchair in the driver position and use the vehicle completely independently by using a selection of driving controls. If you are interested in getting a drive-from WAV it’s important to remember that you will need to be able to get in and out of the vehicle yourself. Some WAVs have a system fitted to make this easier such as an automatic ramp and tailgate that is operated remotely.

At Sirus we convert the VW Caddy as a drive-from WAV.
https://sirusautomotive.co.uk/vehicles/vw-caddy-drive/

A drive-from/upfront conversion can be used as a drive-from WAV vehicle and a passenger upfront WAV. The vehicle comes with an interchangeable front seat that can be swapped as needed. This is a great solution for people who still want some independence but may get fatigued on long drives and so need to share the responsibility of driving. They can also be used solely as a drive-from or upfront passenger solution – just don’t swap the seat over.

At Sirus we convert the Ford Tourneo and Fiat Qubo as drive-from/upfront solutions.

It seems obvious but one of the most vital things you need to be sure of is that you & your wheelchair can fit into the mobility vehicle. The ramps and doors on some vehicles can be fairly narrow so if you have a large wheelchair it’s best to check that it will definitely fit.

The key measurements you will be asked for when enquiring about WAVs will be the seated height of the wheelchair user (that’s the total height from the floor to the top of their head when seated in the chair) and the width of the wheelchair at its widest point.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying a WAV vehicle is how comfortable and convenient it is for you. You need to check that you have enough headroom in the vehicle so that you can enter the vehicle and sit comfortably without ducking your head. Some WAVs have a lowered floor to make sure you have enough room. Remember that you won’t always be travelling on smooth roads so you need to have enough room so that your head doesn’t hit the roof as the driver goes over speed bumps or potholes. If you will be sitting over or behind the rear wheels, it could be a bumpier ride, so keep this in mind.

You should think about the comfort of any other passengers too. If there are other passenger seats in the back, have they been narrowed to accommodate the wheelchair? Is there enough room for other passengers to feel comfortable on long journeys and do you need to use child car seats in conjunction with them?

For independent driving solutions it will be necessary to use an automatic wheelchair securing system to secure your wheelchair when travelling. This will usually involve fitting a pin or spigot to the underside of your wheelchair that will connect with the docking station on the floor. It is important to remember that fitting one of these to your wheelchair may reduce the ground clearance. After assessing your wheelchair our mobility vehicle advisors will be able to advise you of the most suitable solution to fit your requirements.
If you are travelling as a passenger, and planning on using manual wheelchair restraints, ensure that your driver or assistant is able to reach and use the front and rear tie downs with you seated in your chair easily. If not, an automatic wheelchair securing system as described above is an option you may wish to consider.

If you want to drive but like the idea of driving from a standard seat instead of your wheelchair, this could be the right choice for you. Some internal transfer WAVs such as the Caddy conversion allow you to get in and secure your wheelchair, before switching over to the driver’s seat. These seats can be made to move, either rotating or moving backwards into the rear of the vehicle, to allow you to transfer from your wheelchair more easily.

At Sirus we convert the VW Caddy as an internal transfer WAV.

Rear passenger WAV vehicle are the most common vehicle conversion type. There is a lot of variety and most people will find one that they can fit in comfortably. If you are going to be sitting in the back there are a few more things to consider. Will you be able to speak to the driver? Will you be able to see out of the window? If the seating arrangement means you’ll be positioned on the rear axle do you think this will make you travel sick?

The rear passenger solution that we provide at Sirus is based on the Kia Soul and is completely exclusive to us.

WAV vehicles come in a variety of different shapes and sizes so there are certain things you’ll need to consider to make sure you purchase the right size WAV for you.
How many people will be travelling in the vehicle? Can the vehicle definitely fit all passengers and all of your usual luggage and equipment in? You also need to consider where the vehicle will be parked. Will it fit on the drive or in the garage? Is it going to fit in any parking spaces you use frequently?

At Sirus all of our WAVs come with a seating capacity of between 2 and 4 as standard. It is possible to increase the seating capacity of some disabled vehicles with additional seats at an additional cost. However this is not available on every vehicle conversion and is dependent on the size of the wheelchair.

It is really important that you test drive any WAV vehicle you’re interested in purchasing to make sure it meets your needs and is suitable. Here are our top tips for getting the most out of your demonstration:
· Don’t let the mobility advisor help too much – you need to make sure you would be able to use the vehicle on your own. Make sure you can get in and out, operate the ramp or lift, secure the wheelchair in place and use any other features.
· Invite people who you regularly travel with. If you have a carer who normally helps you into your current vehicle invite them along – they need to be able to use the vehicle too.
· When you go for a test drive take a route that you travel frequently to ensure the WAV vehicle suits your everyday travel needs.
· Drive over some bumpy roads and some speed bumps to see whether it is still comfortable and whether your wheelchair stays secure.
· If you are sat in the back in your wheelchair try talking to the driver to see if you can hear each other.
· Be sure to try both slow and higher speed roads to test cabin noise on the move but keep in mind that because of the conversion process a WAV is never going to be as quiet as a standard vehicle.
· Ask questions. If there is something you want to know now is the time to ask the mobility advisor.

There are several different types of vehicle conversion, with different seating arrangements to choose from, when purchasing a WAV vehicle. You will need to make sure that you choose a conversion type that meets your requirements and you are comfortable travelling in.

· Does the mobility vehicle comfortably fit where you would be storing it (in a garage, on a drive, on the road)?
· Is there enough room for it to operate (e.g. for the ramp to lower and extend)?
· Can you access and exit the vehicle with ease?
· Can you and your chair fit comfortably in the vehicle?
· How is your eye level and visibility?
· Do you feel secure and comfortable when positioned in the vehicle?
· Do you feel safe and secure when in motion?
· If you are the driver do you feel comfortable with the controls?
· If you are a passenger do you like your position in the vehicle in relation to the driver?
· Do you like the way the interior and exterior of the car looks up close, in person?

Conversion information

Yes. Most companies that supply independent driving solutions will also be able to offer adaptations to suit your exact requirements. From inexpensive and easy to fit systems such as push/pull hand controls through to high tech options such as electronic gas and brake, your mobility advisor will be able to run through available options with you at the vehicle demonstration.

Yes. Our Ford wheelchair accessible vehicle allows you to do this. This vehicle conversion offers a flexible option for wheelchair drivers and up-front passengers with entry through the side sliding door rather than the back of the vehicle. As the vehicle is not converted at the rear, it is possible to have a tow bar fitted to use with a caravan or trailer. Original boot space is retained allowing storage for shopping, additional equipment, assistance dogs and/or the safe storage of valuable items. Access through the side can also offer advantages with deployment of the ramp straight onto the curb side or pavement, and no requirements to leave room at the rear of the car when parking to deploy a ramp.

If you need to change between driving and being a passenger on longer journeys then a vehicle with an interchangeable driver and passenger seat is be the best option. Please note it isn’t safe to travel with the seat in the rear of the vehicle.

There are pros and cons of buying either new or used mobility vehicles.

When you purchase a new WAV vehicle you will undergo an assessment process so that the vehicle can be customised to your individual needs. The vehicle will be covered by the car manufacturer warranty and the conversion company will provide a warranty covering the conversion aspect of the vehicle.
However, new WAVs can be more expensive to purchase privately and you may have to wait for your vehicle to be made and for custom adaptations or extra to be fitted.

Used WAV vehicles are of course a cheaper option to buy than new ones and because they are already built you won’t have to wait as long to get one.
However, if you have specific needs you may find it difficult to find a vehicle that suits your requirements and as the vehicle is used it may have to undergo some repairs. If the vehicle is old it may not still be covered under warranty.

The vast majority of wheelchair accessible vehicles, the wheelchair user is seated in the back of the vehicle either between single rear seats or in some cases seated behind a bench seat. Although this design offers a practical and inexpensive solution, it can also mean that the wheelchair user is isolated and is required to travel seated on their own away from the driver or other passengers in the vehicle. For larger families with multiple passengers this may not be a problem but for many couples or smaller families, travelling so far apart can be less than desirable. Up-front wheelchair accessible vehicles provide a totally different travelling experience for the wheelchair user and their family. Due to the complexities of converting a vehicle to up-front configuration, build time can take up to 4 times longer than a simple sit in the back conversion and as such, up-front models are a higher price.

Motability

If you are planning on applying for a grant from the Motability Specialised Vehicles Fund then it is important to remember that your choice of vehicle may not always be the one that financial assistance could be provided towards. If you are successful in a grant application then one of Motability’s driving assessment team will visit you to identify the solution to meet your basic requirements.
What does the purchase price/Motability Advance Payment include?
If you are purchasing a vehicle from us privately the money paid covers the vehicle and the conversion. It does not cover any extra adaptations you may require to suit your needs.
If you are using the Motability Scheme, this will cover the vehicle and the conversion as well as insurance, MOT, service and breakdown cover as well as certain adaptations such as push/pull hand controls. However, you will not own the vehicle, you will be leasing it.

Once you have chosen a WAV vehicle that is suitable for your needs and signed a quote for it, we will send you some Motability paperwork in the post. Once you have filled it in and sent it back to us we advise Motability for you. If you are hoping to get a grant to help towards the advance payment of your vehicle, please contact Motability to see if you are eligible before you contact Sirus Automotive.

For more information visit https://www.motability.co.uk/

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a motability wav, scooter or powered wheelchair in exchange for their mobility allowance – this includes WAVs. As a national charity, they are sometimes able to offer grants to provide financial help towards the cost of a vehicle and vehicle adaptations.

Useful contacts

01508 489 449
https://www.disabledmotoring.org/
For information regarding being a disabled driver, passenger or Blue Badge holder

www.drivingmobility.org.uk/
For information regarding driving assessments

0333 331 3770
www.fishinsurance.co.uk
For information on insuring your WAV

https://www.gov.uk/browse/disabilities
For information regarding your rights and any benefits or financial assistance you could be entitled to

0300 456 4566
https://www.motability.co.uk/
For information on the Motability Scheme

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