Motability Operations and Electrifying.com are launching a guide to going electric, to give disabled electric car drivers helpful tips to make the most of their vehicle and highlight the steps that need to be made to ensure that no disabled person is left behind in the switch to electric.
The guide is designed to ease concerns over making the switch, bust some commonly-held myths and to help disabled people get behind the wheel of an electric car.
It comes in the light of extensive research by Motability, the Charity, who worked with disabled people to understand their experience of driving electric cars. In response to the research, Motability, the Charity, formed a partnership with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) to produce a national standard for accessible public charging. The standard sets minimum requirements for public charge points to ensure that infrastructure is accessible for disabled people.
At the same time, calls are being made for improvements to be made to existing infrastructure to ensure the UK’s public charging network is accessible for all.
Issues with public charging infrastructure are magnified with those who use the Motability Scheme. According to research carried out by Motability Operations, the organisation which operates the Motability Scheme, 50% of Scheme customers do not have access to off-street parking and will therefore be relying on the public network to charge. With Scheme customers accounting for one in every 10 new cars registered in the UK, disabled people will be left behind when the country transitions to electric if action isn’t taken to improve the network soon.
In the same research, 62% of Motability Scheme customers surveyed also said they would not consider an electric car right now due to concerns over battery range, while 57% gave a lack of charging points in their area as a reason for not making the switch.
Founder and CEO of Electrifying.com Ginny Buckley said: “Although I’m pleased to see the BSI standard now in place, we know that there are over 34,000 existing charging points in the UK, many of which are inaccessible to disabled people now. This is why we need network operators to consider accessibility across their existing infrastructure along with looking to the future of their networks.
“Sadly insufficient charging infrastructure is not the only barrier to electric vehicles for people with disabilities; cost is also a huge factor. When it comes to public charging, we’ve already seen some alarming price hikes.
“Today, over 650,000 disabled people and their families use the Motability Scheme - this is a huge section of the car market. Over half of these customers will be relying on the public network to charge, so we can see how many people with disabilities may soon be priced out of the market if we don’t work together to make public charging more affordable.”
CEO, Motability Operations, Andrew Miller commented: “The Motability Scheme enables freedom and independence every day for over 650,000 customers across the UK. As we work towards the Government’s target date of 2030 and transition our fleet to electric vehicles, our teams are working hard to remove many of the barriers to electric motoring for our customers.
“Here at Motability Operations, we are seeing a big increase in applications for electric vehicles on the Motability Scheme, but we know these aren’t accessible for everyone right now and we’re determined to make sure that our customers feel supported and confident, when they decide that an EV is right for them.
“We’re proud to be collaborating with Electrifying to share this guide, and we hope it’s a useful tool for everyone when they are thinking about moving to electric.”