Electric vehicle (EV) trade association Recharge UK has called for all charging sites to have accessible charging mandated.
The group, which is the EV arm of the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA), believes that mandating accessibility requirements would ensure wheelchair users always have equal access to chargepoints. This is a vital aspect of a just transition.
Improving accessibility for disabled drivers is a core pillar in maintaining EV adoption rates. According to estimates made by the Department for Work and Pensions, 16 million people in the UK had a disability in the 2021/2022 financial year, representing 24% of the population. It is important to note that the specific disabilities were not revealed.
Alongside this data, the UK Department for Transport revealed at the start of the year that, as of March 2022, 2.44 million Blue Badges were held in the nation – 4.3% of the population. It is important to ensure accessibility is maintained for disabled drivers as, with the impending ban on the sale on fossil fuel vehicles in 2030, many could be left behind as the energy transition gains pace.
Recharge UK highlighted the positive introduction of PAS 1899:2022 which gives designers, procurers, and installers essential specifications on how to provide accessible public chargepoints for EVs.
Despite its positive, the legislation has a major shortcoming with its adoption being voluntary. Although many chargepoint operators (CPOs) have adopted and been working towards introducing this standard, this is not the case across the board. Making this mandatory could be a revelation for the market and is something Recharge UK is calling on the government to introduce.
Recharge UK’s stance on the matter has also been backed by ChargeSafe and FairCharge.
“EVs are for everyone and all those that want to lower their carbon footprint and save on running costs by purchasing or using an EV should be able to do so. However, currently what we see is some charging infrastructure that is not built with wheelchair users and those with accessibility requirements in mind, in many cases,” said Matthew Adams, transport policy manager at the REA.
“We have come a long way over the last few years, and the standard PAS 1899 acts as a great tool for CPOs and landowners who are increasingly providing wheelchair accessible EV charging. However, without a mandate, some sites are not wheelchair accessible still and this means they may often find themselves being unable to use a public chargepoint, which increases their chances of running out of charge and could put off many wheelchair users and those with accessibility requirements from purchasing an EV, if they don’t think they can charge.
“RECHARGE UK is calling for government to mandate that all public charging sites, where feasible, must have accessible charging mandated, as we believe electric vehicles are for everyone and we should seize the opportunity to design accessible infrastructure from the ground up as we know such sites can and often do, provide a much better experience than a petrol pump.”
Current± publisher Solar Media is hosting its EV World Congress event in London this 10-11 October. The conference will focus on some of the key discussion points from across the EV sector including delivering coherent EV charging strategies, whether the UK is on course for its 2030 charging target, vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology and more. More information, including how to attend, can be read here.