NEW access standards are to be developed to ensure disabled drivers can use EV (electric vehicle) charge points across the UK.
The standards will provide the industry with guidance, and drivers with a new clear definition of ‘fully accessible’, ‘partially accessible’ and ‘not accessible’ public EV chargepoints.
Designers at the British Standards Institute will look at issues including providing adequate space between bollards, charging units being of a height suitable for wheelchair users, size of the parking bay and the kerb height.
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said: “With sales of EVs increasing and the Government’s net zero ambitions accelerating, I want to make it as easy as possible for EV drivers to charge up their vehicles at public chargepoints right across the UK, regardless of their mobility.
“We are taking action to provide accessibility guidance to both operators and drivers, to make sure that the transition to zero-emission driving will benefit everyone in society as we build back better.”
Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson said: “As electric vehicles become more popular it is imperative that disabled people have the same opportunities to access them as everyone else. The new accessibility standards for chargepoints will help make this a reality.”
Barry Le Grys, CEO at Motability, said: “There is a risk that disabled people are left behind as the UK’s transition to electric vehicles approaches. Motability looks forward to a future where electric vehicle charging is inclusive for all.”
Motability is also working with Designability, a charity that creates products to enable disabled people to live with greater independence, and to identify their requirements for accessible charging.
Catharine Brown, chief executive at Designability, said: “Our expertise in working with disabled people makes us perfectly placed to find solutions to these every day challenges – which will only increase as more people want to drive electric cars. To date over 1,000 disabled drivers have volunteered to feedback to Motability and Designability on how we can make electric vehicle charging accessible for all.”
Motability will be holding a series of workshops on accessibility and electric vehicle charging in August.
A SURVEY of EV drivers found one-third of disabled people had difficulties locating a suitable charger that could meet their needs, with one in seven complaining about the weight of cables.
The survey, carried out by Zap-Map, the UK’s leading EV mapping service, also revealed some users experienced difficulties with the force required to attach the connector, the lack of dropped kerbs around chargepoints, and unsuitable parking arrangements.
Dr Ben Lane, at Zap-Map, said: “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”