LIVEResearch Projects

Making Electric Vehicle charging more accessible for disabled people

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Graphics of a woman using electric vehicle charging unit

What is needed

We are currently working on a project with Motability, the Charity, to understand how Electric Vehicle (EV) chargers should be designed to make them more accessible for disabled people. We will be working directly with disabled drivers and passengers to discover more about their views and experiences of EV charging.

Motability has identified that there has been a lack of attention on accessibility in the design of EV charging. With the forthcoming ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles in the UK by 2030, it is important that more is done to ensure that disabled people are not left behind in this shift.

Who will benefit

Motability’s research with Ricardo 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.

In addition, 10% of all new vehicle sales in the UK are purchased for Motability customers, which indicates how many people rely on vehicles for their mobility and independence.

These statistics highlight the significant number of people who stand to benefit if EV charging is made more accessible as well as the number of people who could be excluded if usability of EV charging fails to be considered.

Research

Our initial research has highlighted a range of specific design challenges around existing EV charging.

From heavy and cumbersome cables, charging units often being located on raised kerbs, to the requirement of a smartphone to access most charging units – there has been very little consideration around usability, which disproportionately affects disabled people.

Next steps

We will be running a series of focus groups and interviews, as well as observational research over the summer, to understand people’s experiences of EV charging and to highlight key barriers for disabled people in accessing existing EV chargers.

These opportunities will be carried forward into our design phase where we will explore and develop user-friendly design proposals for EV chargers. We will also be developing prototypes to demonstrate our designs and will contribute towards a Publicly Accessible Standard which will provide design guidance and recommendations for stakeholders in the EV charging market.

How you can help

We plan to carry out our research work with Motability customers, but there may also be opportunities for members of the public to get involved in our research work.

Please get in touch if you are a disabled driver or passenger and would like to hear about future opportunities.

Any opportunities to get involved will also be advertised on our website and through our social media channels.