Disability campaigners have created a national standards framework to ensure all-electric vehicle charging posts are accessible for drivers with disabilities.
Currently, almost one in ten new cars in the UK are bought on behalf of disabled people. Millions of people with disabilities have been enabled to lease a car thanks to The Motability Scheme.
Work by the Motability charity in conjunction with fellow disability charity Designability, the British Standards Institution (BSI) and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) has resulted in national standards that set a minimum level of accessibility for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Catherine Marris, Head of Innovation at Motability, said: “There is a robust commercial and social case for ensuring that the transition to EVs is inclusive for disabled people. Our research with Ricardo estimates there will be 2.7 million UK drivers or passengers with a disability by 2035, with half reliant on public charging.”
In an AA survey, 73% of the 17,302 drivers who responded agreed that charge post spaces should be wheelchair friendly.
AA President Edmund King commented: “In simple terms, charging posts need to be well-lit, close to amenities, with space around the vehicle to allow people to use walking or mobility aids. It is also essential that the instructions, screen, and cables can be easily viewed and used from a sitting and standing position.
“Our experience on the EV Rally of Scotland brought it home to us that some people with limited mobility would struggle with the height and weight of cables particularly in enclosed areas with little space.
“Creating new charging posts that are easily accessible will not only benefit disabled drivers but will be a great help to our ageing population and indeed all drivers.
“We are getting to the point where the uptake of EVs is moving quickly from early-adopters, who perhaps put up with more quirks in the system, to more mainstream drivers who will rightly want the infrastructure to meet their expectations.
“All individuals also need to be safe and feel safe, using the charging infrastructure at any time of the day or night. We know of some chargers in remote corners of carparks with little lighting or security for users who rightly feel vulnerable on their own and must use a credit card and phone in public view. Hence the network needs to be accessible and safe.”