As the UK transitions to Net Zero and more people shift to zero-emission electric vehicles, it is estimated that around 1.35 million drivers with disabilities across the UK will be reliant on public charging infrastructure.
Research from national charity Motability, which aims to ensure no disabled person should be disadvantaged because of access to transport, shows the needs of drivers with disabilities will differ from other EV drivers and accessibility concerns must be addressed.
UK Power Networks is working with Motability to 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.
Enable is working closely with a number of forward-thinking local authorities to identify and address the key barriers preventing drivers with disabilities making the switch to EVs. Key factors include access to and accessibility of charge points near their home and the associated lack of information for prospective drivers looking to switch.
Uncovering the needs of disabled EV drivers and identifying the locations of disabled parking bays will allow for better cooperation with local authorities and targeted investment in public infrastructure in the right places.
Says Ian Cameron, head of customer service and innovation at UK Power Networks:
“It is essential that UK Power Networks fully understand the needs of all our customers if we are to ensure nobody is left behind in the UK’s transition to Net Zero. This pioneering research, informed by people with disabilities, is a necessary and important step to accelerate the uptake in EVs.”
Adds Catherine Marris, Head of Innovation at Motability:
“As a national disability charity, we welcome UK Power Networks’ ground-breaking research that will ensure the involved local authorities can meet the mobility needs of disabled drivers in time for the upcoming energy transition. 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.”