Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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Charging point problems for disabled drivers

AS the UK undergoes an electric car revolution, a new survey shows many disabled drivers experience difficulty with charging points.

Millions of zero-emission cars are set to appear on our roads in the near future, but the poll found charging points are a problem for one in three motorists with a disability.

The research also suggests that far fewer disabled motorists are using electric vehicles, or EVs, than the general population – perhaps deterred by accessibility issues.

Zap-Map, the UK’s leading EV mapping service, teamed up with national disability charity Motability, to question 2,200 drivers on their experiences of using Britain’s charging network.

Respondents were asked if they considered themselves to have a disability, and about the challenges they face charging their electric vehicles.

The survey found one third of disabled people had difficulties locating a suitable charger that could meet their needs, with one in seven noting their very specific challenges with the weight of charging cables.

Some users also experienced difficulties with the force required to attach the connector, the lack of dropped kerbs around charge points, and unsuitable parking arrangements.

And 8% of respondents identified as disabled, compared to the 20% rate of disability in the UK population, possibly indicating a more limited uptake of EVs among this group, with accessibility issues being a potential concern.

Dr Ben Lane, joint head of Zap-Map, said: “The UK is witnessing the start of an electric vehicle revolution. The new charging infrastructure to serve those EVs is being built now and we can’t afford to leave anyone behind.

“Businesses and charge point operators need to focus more effort on improving accessibility and designing charge points which will benefit everyone.

“The results of the Zap-Map/Motability survey should serve as a warning to the industry to sit up and take notice. Many disabled people will be thinking about investing in an electric vehicle but could be put off by a lack of accessibility at public charge point locations.”

Catherine Marris, from Motability, added: “We know that one in five people in the UK are disabled and Motability’s recent research estimated that there will be 2.7 million disabled drivers or passengers by 2035, with 1.35 million expected to be partially or wholly reliant on public charging infrastructure.

“As we approach what will be a transformative energy transition in the UK, there is a robust social and commercial case for ensuring that EV charging infrastructure is accessible for disabled people. If we want to work towards a society and economy that is inclusive for all, then accessibility must be a priority.

“We hope to begin working with industry and Government to innovate solutions to charge point accessibility challenges. If you are interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch.”

sarras@motability.co.uk or call 01279 632058

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