Are charge points accessible?
Just like everyone else, lots of drivers with disabilities are keen to embrace electric – but at the moment public charge points are a major obstacle. Unfortunately, many charge points across the UK aren’t accessible for drivers with disabilities right now. But the good news is that the government has plans to make things more inclusive to help more drivers with disabilities to make the switch.
Driving disability charity Motability estimates that by 2035 there’ll be 2.7 million drivers with disabilities on the road. And that around 50% won’t be able to charge at home so it’s vital that public charge points are accessible before they can go electric.
What are the problems?
One of the main barriers to public charging is that wheelchair users can’t access them. Kerb heights are often a problem, charging bays aren’t always wide enough for wheelchair access, cables can be too heavy to lift and surfaces often get slippery because there’s no cover. It’s also tricky to find information on how accessible public charge points are – which makes it hard for drivers with disabilities to plan journeys.
Not surprisingly, this is putting off some drivers with disabilities from swapping to electric.
And what’s changing?
The government is working with Motability and the British Standards Institution to improve things. First, they’re developing consistent accessibility standards so public charge points can be labelled as either fully, partially or not accessible, just like they did with Tube stations in London. Next, they plan to work with charge point owners to boost standards for those that aren’t accessible or only partially accessible.
The standards and guidance for improvements are expected to be ready by summer 2022.