Stories

Making Electric Vehicle charging more 
accessible for disabled people

Increasing numbers of disabled drivers are switching to electric vehicles in their support of climate change objectives and the need to improve the health of the air we breath.

However, the transition to all electric transport is a challenge for many disabled drivers who are finding access and operational issues when it comes to re-charging their electric vehicles. In some cases this has had a profound impact on those who have already chosen to switch to all-electric vehicles and could affect the decision by many to change to a greener form of motoring.

With one in five people in the UK living with a disability, it is estimated that there could be 2.7 million disabled people in the UK by 2035. Of this number, it is possible that 50% will be at least wholly or partially reliant on the public charging infrastructure, needing to charge their vehicle away from home.

Approximately 10% of all new vehicle sales in the UK are purchased for Motability customers, indicating how many people rely on vehicles for their mobility and independence.

These statistics highlight the significant number of people who stand to benefit if EV charging is made more accessible as well as the number of people who could be excluded if usability of EV charging fails to be considered.

Enter Motability who is working closely with Designability - a national charity that enables disabled people to live with greater independence - the government, industry, charities and disabled people! All are focussing on “practical design changes that will ensure disabled people aren’t left behind as the UK transitions to electric.”

Approximately 10% of all new vehicle sales in the UK are purchased for Motability customers, which indicates how many people rely on vehicles for their mobility and independence.

These statistics highlight the significant number of people who stand to benefit if EV charging is made more accessible as well as the number of people who could be excluded if usability of EV charging fails to be considered.Designability says: “We are currently working on a project with  Motability to understand how Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers should be designed to make them more accessible for disabled people. We are working directly with disabled drivers and passengers to discover more about their views and experiences of EV charging.

“Motability has identified that there has been a lack of attention on accessibility in the design of EV charging. With the forthcoming ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles in the UK by 2030, it is important that more is done to ensure that disabled people are not left behind in this shift.”

 

The project so far

Our initial research and user engagement activities highlighted a range of specific design challenges around existing EV charging.

From parking and space in the built environment to setting up and using chargers and finding out about suitable, available charging points in advance, there is significant scope to improve the usability and convenience of EV charging for disabled people.

Motability is a charity in the United Kingdom. It oversees Motability Operations Ltd, which runs the Motability Scheme intended to enable disabled people, their families and their carers to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair, using their disability benefit.