A host of MPs and leading industry figures attended a Parliamentary reception hosted by Motability to learn more about how public electric vehicle (EV) charging can be made accessible to disabled people.
The House of Commons reception, which took place on Monday 21 November, was held to mark the launch of new British Standards Institute (BSI) standard for accessible EV charging.
Attendees included Tom Pursglove MP, the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work.
A world-leading accessible standard
The world-leading standard, sponsored by Motability and the UK Government Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) sets out best-practice for making public EV chargepoints accessible to all.
To accompany this we have also partnered with Designability, the national charity that enables disabled people to live with greater independence, to produce freely available design guidance for industry.
We’ve also conducted extensive research to understand the barriers disabled people face when using EV chargepoints.
These include weight of charging cables, the force required to attach the connector, the lack of dropped kerbs around chargepoints and unsuitable parking arrangements.
Benefits of accessible charging standard
If designed inclusively from the beginning, Motability’s understanding from engagement with industry is that manufacturing accessible chargingpoints should not be any more expensive.
There is also a commercial case for accessibility - making chargepoints accessible now will mean they could be open to the 2.7 million disabled drivers that the UK is estimated to have by 2035.
Making chargepoints accessible can also benefit everyone, especially older people and those with young children.
The standard also covers good practice guidance for improving safety around chargepoints, such as the provision of lighting and security cameras.
The transition to EV
The Government is providing a number of funding streams to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, and it is estimated the UK may need 300,000 public chargepoints to successfully transition to EV.
Available funding includes the £950 million rapid charging fund for motorways and major A road service areas, and the £450 million local electric vehicle infrastructure (LEVI) scheme for local authorities and partnerships.
Barry Le Grys, Chief Executive Officer at Motability said: “It was great to be able to meet so many MPs, peers, thought leaders and industry experts to highlight the work Motability and our partners have been doing on accessible EV charging.
“We identified a real risk that disabled people could be left behind by the UK’s transition to electric vehicles, and want to ensure this does not happen.
“Through our partnership the UK now has a world-leading standard which will aid providers in developing accessible infrastructure at pace which is fit for the future.
“We’ve also sponsored design guidance to help industry make accessible charging a reality.
“Going forward we are keen to explore ways to ensure compliance with the new standard so that electric vehicle charging can be truly accessible for all.”