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Pete smiling while sitting in his vehicle, the window is down and Angela can be seen in the reflection of the car window.

Accessible Vehicle Design

With the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles due to end by 2035 we want to ensure that disabled people are not left behind by the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). 

The current number of disabled drivers or passengers in the UK is 2.45 million, and this number is predicted to increase to 2.7 million by 2035.

In order for disabled people to be able to make the move to EV, accessibility needs to be put at the heart of their design.

Why is accessible vehicle design important?

In spring 2022 we commissioned the Energy Saving Trust (EST) to carry out research into accessible vehicle design (PDF 1.6 MB).

Published in 2023, the EST’s report found that disabled people’s requirements are not being sufficiently considered in the design and production of EVs. The report made a series of recommendations for overcoming these barriers, including establishing accessible design principles for EVs.

It also recommended further user engagement with disabled people to capture their full perspectives and identify specific vehicle design barriers.

We are working with Motability Operations to create accessible vehicle design solutions, to demonstrate what is possible and support an EV transition that works for disabled people.

Creating accessible vehicle design principles and prototypes

We have provided grant funding to Designability, a people-centred design charity, to demonstrate how different features of personal, private and passenger vehicles can be made accessible, from seats to dashboard controls.

To do this, Designability have carried out extensive user engagement with disabled people to understand the challenges they face with their vehicles. They have also carried out research into existing vehicle design, including engagement with industry stakeholders.

For the next phase of this workstream Designability will create a series of accessible vehicle design principles and demonstrator prototypes designed to spark inspiration in industry and show what is achievable through inclusive design.

Learn more about Designability’s findings (PDF 1.4 MB).

eVita concept vehicle

Motability Operations is working with CALLUM, a design and engineering consultancy, to develop a concept electric wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV).

eVita is a concept vehicle designed to showcase potential advancements and kick-start innovation within the automotive industry.

It aims to address the needs of passenger WAV users in the transition to small/medium electric vehicles. It is not available as a production vehicle.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about the Motability Foundation’s work on accessible vehicle design please email