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 can be an obstacle. Unfortunately, some charge points across the UK aren’t accessible for drivers with disabilities right now. But the good news is that there are now plans in place 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 always access them. Kerb heights are sometimes 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.
The government has worked with Motability and the British Standards Institution to improve things. First, they’ve developed 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. They are now working with charge point owners to boost standards for those that aren’t accessible or only partially accessible.
The new standard for accessible EV charging (PAS 1899:2022) can be found here.