The government has announced plans to help disabled people charge electric vehicles with the introduction of new “accessibility standards”. Under the proposals announced by the Department for Transport (DfT), the government will set out a new “clear definition” of how accessible a charge point is.
Under the plan, charging points will be sorted into three categories: “fully accessible”, “partially accessible” and “not accessible”. The decision will be made after taking a number of factors into account, including the space between bollards, charging unit height and the size of the parking bays. Even the kerb height will be considered.
The guidance will be created by the British Standards Institute, working at the bequest of the DfT and disability charity Motability. The organisations will work with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) to consult charge point operators and disability charities to ensure the standards are suitable.
It’s hoped the guidance, due in 2022, will give the industry clear instructions on how to make charging points easier for disabled people to use. It will also give drivers the chance to rapidly identify the charging points that are most suitable for their needs.
“There is a risk that disabled people are left behind as the UK’s transition to electric vehicles approaches and Motability wants to ensure that this does not happen,” said the organisation’s chief executive officer, Barry Le Grys MBE. “We welcome the interest from the government in our research on electric vehicle charging and accessibility and we are excited about our partnership with the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles to further this work.
“We look forward to working together to create world-leading accessibility standards and to support the UK’s commitment to achieving zero emissions. Motability looks forward to a future where electric vehicle charging is inclusive for all.”
Meanwhile transport minister Rachel Maclean said the new guidance would make it easier for disabled drivers to charge their electric cars, no matter where they live.
“With sales of electric vehicles (EVs) increasing and the government’s net zero ambitions accelerating, I want to make it as easy as possible for EV drivers to charge up their vehicles at public charge points right across the UK, regardless of their mobility,” she said. “We are taking action to provide accessibility guidance to both operators and drivers to make sure that the transition to zero-emission driving will benefit everyone in society as we build back better.”