Motability Operations has partnered with community charging app Co Charger to trial the sharing of privately-owned electric vehicle (EV) chargepoints with disabled motorists.
A pool of Motability Scheme customers are to be trialing the Co Charger app to charge their EVs over a three month period, providing feedback on how the app could alleviate customers’ anxiety around range and charging.
The Co Charger app allows motorists to access local privately-owned chargers which are available for regular use, helping customers find, book and pay for personal charging in their neighbourhood as an alternative to public charging points.
Motability said this is particularly useful for up to half of all disabled motorists who are expected to be wholly or partially reliant on public charging infrastructure by 2035.
The Motability Scheme, meanwhile - run by Motability Operations under contract from disability charity Motability - enables people to exchange their mobility allowance to lease a new car, wheelchair accessible vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair.
The need to improve EV charging accessibility has been repeatedly highlighted by Motability. A 2020 survey from the charity and Zap-Map found a third of disabled drivers have difficulties locating a suitable charger, with challenges including the weight of charging cables, the force required to attach the connector, the lack of dropped curbs around chargepoints and unsuitable parking arrangements.
Last year, Motability partnered Designability to examine the challenges, while the charity also, alongside the Department for Transport, commissioned the British Standards Institute to develop new accessibility standards for EV charging.
"Community charging could be a great hassle-free alternative to publicly charging an EV, particularly for many of our customers who do not have off-street parking," Jon Jenkins, head of innovations at Motability Operations, said.