Disabled Drivers Struggle With EV Charging Network, Research Claims

Survey finds a third of disabled EV drivers struggle to find a suitable charger.

New research has revealed a worrying lack of accessibility for disabled motorists at electric vehicle charging points. A study of 2,200 electric car drivers by charging point mapping service Zap-Map and Motability found two in three disabled drivers have had trouble using the UK’s charging points.

One in seven said they had problems with the weight of the cables required to plug electric vehicles (EVs) into the charger, while some users also had difficulties exerting the force required to attach the connector. Other disabled drivers also noted issues with a lack of dropped kerbs around the charge points and unsuitable parking arrangements.

However, it’s worth noting that, just eight percent of respondents identified as disabled, which might suggest reduced reliability among the results. However, Zap-Map pointed out that around 20 percent of the population is disabled, suggesting uptake of electric vehicles is “more limited” among this demographic.

“The UK is witnessing the start of an electric vehicle revolution with millions of zero-emission cars set to appear on our roads in the near future,” said Zap-Map joint MD Dr Ben Lane. “The new charging infrastructure to serve those EVs is being built now and we can’t afford to leave anyone behind. Businesses and charge point operators need to focus more effort on improving accessibility and designing charge points which will benefit everyone”

“The results of the Zap-Map/Motability survey should serve as a warning to the industry to sit up and take notice. Many disabled people will be thinking about investing in an electric vehicle but could be put off by a lack of accessibility at public charge point locations.”

Meanwhile Catherine Marris, the innovation lead at Motability, said accessibility should be a “priority” when considering infrastructure.

“We know that one in five people in the UK are disabled and Motability’s recent research estimated that there will be 2.7 million disabled drivers or passengers by 2035, with 1.35 million expected to be partially or wholly reliant on public charging infrastructure,” she said. “As we approach what will be a transformative energy transition in the UK, there is a robust social and commercial case for ensuring that EV charging infrastructure is accessible for disabled people. If we want to work towards a society and economy that is inclusive for all, then accessibility must be a priority.

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to partner with Zap-Map for its annual survey this year, and hope to begin working with industry and government to innovate solutions to charge point accessibility challenges. If you are interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch.”

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