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Research project to address EV barriers for disabled drivers

UK Power Networks is undertaking a research project with Motability and local authorities to help disabled drivers make the switch to electric vehicles.

As the UK transitions to Net Zero and more people shift to zero emission electric vehicles, it is estimated that around 1.35m drivers with disabilities across the UK will be reliant on public charging infrastructure

Motorists with disabilities who do not have access to off-street parking will require on-street charging solutions as they transition to EVs.

These motorists have specific parking and charging requirements as they need to park close to their home or destination and charging infrastructure must be accessible.

Research by Ricardo estimates that up to 1.35 million drivers with disabilities will be partially or wholly reliant on public charging infrastructure. And UK Power Networks, the distribution network operator (DNO) for London and the South East, estimates that around a third of those drivers, nearly half a million customers, are within its region.

Its work with Motability will identify the specific needs of disabled EV drivers who park on-street, who need to park close to their home or destination. This will ensure they have the infrastructure they need to charge their cars, giving them the independence to get out and about.

The project, called Enable, will map out where charging infrastructure is needed to support drivers with disabilities. The maps will be developed with local authorities to inform their Local Area Energy Plans and ensure nobody is left behind.

Catherine Marris, head of innovation at Motability, said: “There is a robust commercial and social case for ensuring that future electric vehicle charging infrastructure is accessible for all and we are pleased to be a part of this inclusive and forward-thinking project, which will help inform our own UK-wide initiatives on accessible charging.”

The announcement of the project comes a week after the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that it’s commissioned the British Standards Institute (BSI) to develop the standards for EV charge points across the country, which will provide guidance on how to make individual charge points more accessible by summer 2022.

The BSI will work on the project in partnership with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) and Motability, and will develop consistent standards on areas including adequate space between bollards, ensuring charging units are a suitable height for wheelchair users, size of the parking bay and the kerb height.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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