The UK Government has announced a partnership with a disability charity to improve accessibility to the electric vehicle charging network.
The Department for Transport is working with Motability and has commissioned the British Standards Institute to set standards for charge point accessibility across the country.
By defining accessibility standards, each chargepoint will be given a definition of ‘fully accessible’, ‘partially accessible’ or ‘not accessible’, so drivers can find chargers that suit their needs.
Aspects of chargepoint design that will be considered include whether there’s adequate space between bollards, chargers being an appropriate height for wheelchair users, and the height of the kerb.
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.”
Barry Le Grys MBE, chief executive officer at Motability, said: “There is a risk that disabled people are left behind as the UK’s transition to electric vehicles approaches, and Motability wants to ensure that this does not happen.
“We welcome the interest from Government in our research on electric vehicle charging and accessibility and we are excited about our partnership with the Office of Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) to further this work.
“We look forward to working together to create world-leading accessibility standards and to support the UK’s commitment to achieving zero emissions. 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 that help disabled people live more independently, to talk to disabled drivers to ensure their needs are met in chargepoint designs.
Catharine Brown, chief executive at Designability, said: “Accessible electric vehicle charging is an exciting area of innovation for government, industry, and the charity sector.
“Designability welcomes this important drive towards standards that will make sure the needs of disabled people are taken into account as this new technology becomes mainstream.”