Motability and the UK Government formed a partnership to co-sponsor a new accessibility standard for public EV charging points, PAS 1899, last year.
Disabled and older people can face a range of difficulties when attempting to use public EV charging points, which include charging units being of a height unsuitable for wheelchair users, charging cables which are too heavy to lift, connectors that require a high level of force to use, as well as features of the streetscape such as the size of the parking bay or the height of the kerb.
Motability research found that by 2035 there will be 2.7 million disabled drivers in the UK, with up to half – 1.35 million – reliant on public EV charging points.
Scott Steedman, director-general for standards at BSI, said: “This new standard will help ensure that charging point providers and procurers can anticipate and remove any obstacles that could prevent a user from making full and independent use of the charging point.
“No-one should be left behind as we transition towards a net-zero economy, and by ensuring that as many people as possible can make use of electric vehicles, we increase the UK’s chances of reaching ambitious net-zero goals as well as ensuring that the transition is one that is just and inclusive.
“Throughout this transition, BSI will continue to convene industry, Government, research groups, and consumers to create positive change for society.”
Transport minister Lucy Frazer added: “We want everyone to be able to make the switch to electric vehicles as we look to make transport cleaner and meet our climate targets. That means all drivers need to be able to easily find public charge points which are at an accessible height and have adequate space for disabled users.
“This new Government-backed standard will help the industry to create and install charge points that everyone can use easily, making the experience better and fairer for disabled people across the UK.”
Barry Le Grys, chief executive officer at Motability, says its research has shown that half of disabled people will be reliant on public EV charging by 2035, yet they face a host of problems using existing public charging infrastructure.
“If this does not change, there is a real risk that disabled people will be left behind in the UK’s transition to electric vehicles,” he added.
“This standard will aid providers in developing new infrastructure at pace which is fit for the future. 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.”
The steering group that informed the standard included representation from disabled people, disabled people’s organisations, disability charities, industry bodies, transport agencies, representatives from central government and from devolved administrations, and charge point providers.