Disabled drivers to benefit from standardised electric car charge points
New standards for charger design, payment interfaces and physical accessibility aim to make electric car chargers more inclusive of disabled drivers...
Drivers with disabilities could soon find it easier to use electric car charging points, thanks to a new consultation opened by the Government investigating their accessibility.
The consultation will be used by the British Standards Institute (BSI) to establish a new standard for electric car chargers, aimed at addressing various barriers to their access. These include environmental problems, such as where chargers are placed and their spacing from each other, as well as their design.
The standard will address the dimensions of charge points, including their height, the weight of cables and the tilt angle of any screens, with the goal of improving usability for people in wheelchairs.
The payment interface of charging points will also be addressed to make them easier for neurodivergent people – such as those with dyslexia – to use.
Overall, the aim of the new standard is to create a more inclusive charging environment for disabled drivers, of which the BSI estimates there will be 2.7 million in 10 years’ time.
The Motability charity, which runs a scheme to lease cars and wheelchair accessible vehicles to disabled people at affordable rates, will sponsor the new standard.
It expects half of disabled drivers to be reliant on public charging points by 2025, yet its chief executive, Barry Le Grys, says they currently face “a host of problems" using public charging. These range from confusing instructions on payment, to heavy charging cables and limited space to move around in charging bays.
One of the aims of the consultation is to ensure consistency among charging points – something that was also the focus of a recent Government announcement about charging infrastructure.
Included in it were measures to enable drivers to use contactless payment at all chargers, as well as plans to improve the provision of public chargers tenfold (to 300,000) by 2030 – the year that sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned.
Omitted from the consultation announcement was any mention of future technologies such as wireless charging pads, which were highlighted as a “promising solution” for accessibility in a 2020 report by Motability and Ricardo, an engineering firm.
They were deemed as such because they would remove the need to interact with a physical charging point at all, but such technology is unlikely to be publicly available until later this decade.
Charging firm Char.gy is currently trialling wireless chargers in Buckinghamshire using 10 Renault Zoe small electric cars.
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