Wheelchair vehicles are incredibly useful for wheelchair users. For obvious reasons it is extremely challenging for disabled individuals to access a regular car, and transporting a wheelchair presents a separate problem. Over the years, technology has evolved to solve these problems in increasing sophisticated ways. Modern wheelchair accessible vehicles provide a smart solution, and are created by converting everyday models of people carriers and small vans into purpose-built disabled vehicles.
There is wide selection of regular vehicles suitable for conversion – practically any MPV or light van of suitable dimensions can be converted. With an adapted version of a standard-production automobile, wheelchair users gain a practical mode of transport which best suits their needs from a choice of different models. There are many specialist conversion companies, offering a range of standard – or even bespoke – wheelchair accessible vehicles.
Building a Wheelchair Car
The conversion process is step-by-step, requiring skilled mechanics, welders, electricians, and vehicle assemblers. If you’ve seen Pimp My Ride you’ll have some idea – the process is quite similar, you break the vehicle down and rebuild it better! Following a detailed design, the vehicle is partially deconstructed to allow modification and the addition of features to facilitate wheelchair access.
The first step is a major structural change: the interior is stripped out and rear of the vehicle may be cut out to allow the floor to be lowered to make wheelchair access easier. The lowered floor has the additional benefit of lowering the eye line of a wheelchair-bound passenger to allow an improved view.
Next step is the addition of a wheelchair ramp for easy loading/unloading. Other accessibility features will be added, including wheelchair restraints, seat belts, grab handles, and a winch where appropriate. Once this is complete, the interior is rebuilt and after quality control procedures are complete, the vehicle is ready to go.
This process can take anything from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size of the converter and the complexity of the work involved in producing the required design.