Accessibility standards are to be developed for electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the UK, allowing disabled drivers to identify models best suited to their needs.
In partnership with national disability charity Motability, the Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned the British Standards Institution (BSI) to develop accessibility standards for EV charge points across the country, transport minister Rachel Maclean has announced.
The standards will provide industry with guidance and drivers with a new clear definition of ‘fully accessible’, ‘partially accessible’ and ‘not accessible’ public EV charge points.
The Government said the design of public charge points is already ‘carefully considered’ by operators, but consistent standards are ‘crucial’ for drivers to easily identify which charge points are suitable for their needs.
This could range from adequate space between bollards, charging units being of a height suitable for wheelchair users, size of the parking bay and the kerb height.
Maclean said: “With sales of 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.
“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.”
Last year, Smart Transport member UK100 called on the Government to provide “seamless access” to EV infrastructure as part of the UK's green recovery.
Minister for disabled people Justin Tomlinson said: “As we build back greener, this government is ensuring disabled people are at the heart of our plans.
“As electric vehicles become more popular it is imperative that disabled people have the same opportunities to access them as everyone else. The new accessibility standards for charge points will help make this a reality.”
The Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), Motability and BSI will be working with industry stakeholders including EV charge point operators, disability charities and innovators to ensure that the consumer can find the right charge points for their needs, Government said.
Barry Le Grys, chief executive officer at Motability, said: “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.
“We welcome the interest from 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.”
Motability is also working with Designability, a charity that creates products to enable disabled people to live with greater independence, to engage with disabled drivers and identify their requirements for accessible charging.
Government said to ensure stakeholders have the opportunity to inform the standards, Motability will be holding a series of workshops on accessibility and EV charging in August, 2021.