Hand Controls for Disabled Drivers?

Can I order a vehicle with basic hand controls with Onto? Just require pull/twist for accelerator and push for brakes. I’m given to understand that the battery regeneration almost negates the need for the brake pedal unless one wishes to come to a dead stop. This being so, it would make it very easy to drive, and no gearbox to worry about either.

Hi @Lord_Biggles - we aren’t able to offer customised/modified vehicles unfortunately, as all our vehicles are ordered from the manufacturers directly.

If you wish to fit modifications - these would need to be manufacturer approved parts and would need to be fully removed with no damage to the vehicle upon completion of your subscription.


Just to add to this point - Remember that you aren’t guaranteed to keep the one car for as long as you remain with Onto. They can, and do request for your car to be swapped if it hits a limit of age, mileage, or even if they simply make a business decision to withdraw that car from the fleet early. Adding modifications to a short term subscription vehicle like this likely isn’t viable.

I Appreciate that it’s not available to everyone, but if you do happen to qualify for the Motability scheme, then this is likely the best option for you. They also offer quite a wide selection of EVs and can be equipped with any adaptions that you may need to help with your disability. Obviously you would be comitting to a longer term with the vehicle so it’s important to ensure that the car will be suitable for your needs both now, but also try to anticipate the future years as best as possible too.


How does this work with the Equality Act? Disability is a protected characteristic. You’re compelled by law to provide adjustments at no extra cost to the driver. I’m disabled but mine is a hidden disability. It’s about access for all, not the privileged few. @Adam_at_Onto there’s some really bad output on these forums of late. It’s not an inclusive atmosphere at all.


Hi @Spud101 - you’re able to modify the vehicle during your usage- we don’t charge you anything extra for this.

We don’t, however, supply pre modified vehicles. We order stock vehicles directly from the manufacturers.

We’re not preventing customers from modifying- as long as the vehicles are returned in the same condition they were delivered in.


Apologies, this thread has triggered me. I’m autistic and unfairness is one of those things that sets me off! I suspect you may need to consult the legal department here @Raheel_at_Onto as I believe you are obliged to provide these adjustments, not just accept that customers can fit them.

The thing is, if those that fought for these laws years ago hadn’t chained themselves to buses we wouldn’t be in the place we are now where everywhere is much more accessible to all. I have full use of my limbs but I do have what is called a hidden disability and I feel it’s of the utmost importance to highlight when mistakes are being made when it’s in relation to this particular ‘space’ that I’m interested in.

Everyone is allowed to make mistakes, I make many all the time. It’s how we deal with them personally and as an organisation that highlights who we are and what we stand for. So, once again, I’m sorry for flying off the handle but I think you may be mistaken and you may legally need to provide the hand controls. Lynx hand controls fit almost all automatic cars and you could easily stock a small number of them in each of the vehicle holding locations.

(Now, don’t get me started on how it’s almost impossible for a wheelchair user to use public charging!!!)


It’s the public charging I’m worried about, hence wanting to try a vehicle for a few months before comitting to anything long term without a getout clause. I live in a 1st floor flat, with no off-road parking, so would be reliant on public chargers to recharge the car. I’ve already got an email in to my local council to ask them where the wheelchair accessible charging points are located in the city.

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This may not be the case. If a short term subscription is handled in the same way that car clubs are, this may not be necessary due to the nature of their operations.

Onto would still be expected to make reasonable adjustments and it would be helpful if they had a clear documented policy for this. But offering adaptions is not necessarily the only way that they would be considered compliant with the regulations.

Surrogate drivers for the disabled person for example would be fine, as long as Onto were to waive the additional driver fee under those circumstances.

Allowing these adaptations to be done by a manufacturer approved supplier could also be considered to be reasonable in these cases.

Lots of rental companies do go above and beyond in these regards. But not all. And it wouldn’t necessarily be breaking any laws if they didn’t.


I hear you there @Lord_Biggles. There was a video posted on here recently of a new roadside charger where they have put all the ‘gubbins’ under the pavement and there’s an extendable lead coming out of a soft cone like structure which was much easier for someone that’s not ambulatory.

The using this for a few months to see is such a great idea as well. What I would suggest is when you get one, have a day out and drive to as many chargers as you can to see what they’re like before you need to use them in anger as it were. It took me a few goes to work out the best side to approach from and if it was best to reverse or drive straight in. The biggest problem you’re going to face is that the units themselves need to be protected from cars knocking them so they have massive metal poles protecting them. (I’m sure they must cost a fortune to commission.)

That said, the new ones I’ve used in Shell and BP forecourts have been very well laid out. Instavolt, whilst great at getting a charge, aren’t very good at all for spacing. It’s a squeeze for me and I have no access / movement issues. The bays are just too small.

Oddly enough I think you may fair better in sites with just one chargers as they may well have more room.

I’m fortunate in that where I live there are many kerbside / lamppost chargers which, whilst not lightening quick like the DC chargers are, are a few minutes walk about so I can easily park up and it’s fully charged again in a few hours.

What size car are you thinking of getting? The interiors of the two I’ve had have really surprised me. The ID4 is positively cavernous inside, I’ve gone to an ID3 and it’s more than big enough for passengers. I just wish the boot space was big enough to get the table and chairs in. In my head I suspect the purpose built cars may have great access for you but you wouldn’t get a wheelchair in the boot of an ID3 I don’t think.

Where abouts are you located? If there happens to be someone else in your local area here in the community, they may be able to give their comments about what public charging is like in the area, as well as possible observations regarding accessibility.

Unfortunately as a general rule of thumb, you are likely to struggle a fair bit when it comes to chargers accessibility if you are completely reliant on the public networks. Lots of the chargers have screens that are raised quite high, with the controls often at the side of the units meaning you need to step up a kerb and potentially onto uneven ground to operate it. Not to mention the fact that some charging bays can be quite narrow. I don’t know your exact circumstances, but if you’re entirely reliant on a wheelchair then it may be worth leaving it for another few years before going for an EV without home charging makes sense for disabled people.

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I was looking at the Ioniq. As I can’t walk at all, I can get a bag to put the wheels in and drop them on the back seat, and I was thinking about sliding the front passenger seat all the way back and putting the frame in the footwell and resting on the seat, having covered same with a blanket to protect the seat. If on the odd occasion I did have a passenger, or two, then they could put the chair in the boot and the seats could go back to doing what seats do best.

Being single, I don’t have anyone to take with me to fill it up and would have to be self reliant, hence the attractivness of the month to month commitment available here if problems arose.

This is a great example of what I’m talking about. Connectors and controls are at a raised height. To operate you need to get up a kerb and onto uneven ground.

Not pictured in this photo I pulled off the internet, but lots of chargers also have a couple of bollards in front of them which would be another obstacle for you. As well as the narrow bays where you likely couldn’t fit a wheelchair right beside the driver’s door… The fact that you’ve now stated that you are unable to walk at all definitely gives me concerns about being able to manage with public chargers especially in some areas.

It’s why I’m asking where you’re located in the country. Because while some charge points are all exclusively like this in some areas, there’s others where we are starting to see more accessible solutions.

But even taking disabilities out of the equation, there’s still some places in the UK where you might struggle to run an EV in general if you’re unable to charge at home, especially if you’re thinking of an Ioniq with a relatively small battery pack. The more details you’re able to share, the better that people here can advise and make recommendations.

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How do wheelchair users refuel their ICE vehicles?

If a disabled person is unable to refuel their own vehicle, most forecourts provide instructions to turn on your hazard lights and sound your horn to indicate that you need assistance. Someone will then come out to provide attended service.

That’s what I thought. If a fuel service station also has a rapid charger, could a member of staff not offer the same service?

Some may agree to it, but I wouldn’t rely on it. I’ve heard of at least one instance where it’s been refused. And plenty of other times where forecourt staff have dismissed any queries relating to a charger where they explain they were told nothing about the chargers except for not to touch them, because they’re property of the third party charging network.

Probably a fair chance of getting them to agree at a Shell Recharge unit at a Shell forecourt for example. Especially since Shell generally seem to be one of the best I’ve see when it comes to disability assistance policies… But I’d say your chances are slim at the likes of a MFG station where you’ve got a fuel franchise but a separate charging brand on site too. They often seem to want nothing to do with each other.

There used to be an IR box you could use but that’s going out of service.

There’s these though:


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To be honest if you have a physical disability are you covered by ONTO insurance I’m notbsure how it works as would need to be declared I assume and special certification from doctors provided etc

Some awfully biased views are being aired here. Please take some time to consult about being more inclusive. Insurance is valid if the driving licence is valid and the condition the driver has is not a notifiable condition. There are some conditions which will cause the loss of your licence to drive but just because someone has any form of disability does not exclude them from anything at all and it is in fact against the law to do so. There’s an entire act (The Equality Act) which covers this.

For too long this has been going on. Educate yourselves before you spout such hateful comments. You wouldn’t question if someone was insured because of the colour of their skin or their religion, would you? It’s exactly the same for all of the protected characteristics. Everybody counts, or nobody counts to quote Harry Bosch.

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Hopefully I’m not being included in this comment here? Not only am I a user of the Motability scheme myself but I’ve spent a considerable amount of time helping others get set up with the scheme and advising them especially with regards to the world of EVs.

None of my comments are intended to offend or exclude. Rather paint a true picture of how things are in the real world as I know myself that the public charging network has a long way to go before it’s easily accessible for all for example. Hence my question to OP about where they were located in order to look further into the infrastructure around them and how practical it may be to make the switch at this time.

Likewise I’m explaining the logistics regarding services that allow short term rentals of vehicles and how it’s not always easy to implement and ways that they could still be complaint with the law. Would I prefer if Onto and others were fully inclusive? Absolutely and I’ve already made a suggestion of how they could improve this. But as somebody who has insights from both sides of the problem I can appreciate that there isn’t going to be a magic and easy fix that works perfectly for both parties.