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Accessible electric vehicle charging standard is published

Tuesday, 11 October 2022

BSI has today published an open-access standard for accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging, sponsored by Motability and the UK Government Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV). The new standard lays out best-practice on designing accessible public EV chargepoints.

With the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars due to end in 2030, demand for EV charging throughout the UK is set to increase. The UK Government has announced a wide range of measures to address this, most recently the new Growth Plan 2022 which will accelerate two innovative EV infrastructure projects, the Local EV Infrastructure Fund, and the Rapid Charging Fund.

However, disabled drivers, passengers and pedestrians have experienced accessibility issues when using public charging points. In response to these challenges, Motability formed a partnership with UK Government (OZEV) to co-sponsor the accessibility standard for EV charging points.

The new standard will help procurers of public charging points ensure that charging an EV – the physical infrastructure and experience of accessing and using a charge point to charge a vehicle – is accessible for all users, including disabled people.  Disabled and older people can face a range of difficulties when attempting to use public EV charging points, which include charging units being of a height unsuitable for wheelchair users, charging cables which are too heavy to lift, connectors that require a high level of force to use, as well as features of the streetscape such as the size of the parking bay or the height of the kerb.

Motability’s research also found that by 2035 there will be 2.7 million disabled drivers in the UK, with up to half – 1.35 million – reliant on public EV charging points. Consequently, it’s of paramount importance that public charging points are accessible to everyone.  Embedding good practice and encouraging providers to think about inclusive design from the start of the planning process is key to achieving this.      

Scott Steedman, director-general, Standards at BSI, said:

“This new standard will help ensure that charging point providers and procurers can anticipate and remove any obstacles that could prevent a user from making full and independent use of the charging point. No-one should be left behind as we transition towards a net-zero economy, and by ensuring that as many people as possible can make use of electric vehicles, we increase the UK’s chances of reaching ambitious net-zero goals as well as ensuring that the transition is one that is just and inclusive. Throughout this transition, BSI will continue to convene industry, government, research groups, and consumers to create positive change for society.”

Transport Minister Lucy Frazer said:

“We want everyone to be able to make the switch to electric vehicles as we look to make transport cleaner and meet our climate targets. That means all drivers need to be able to easily find public chargepoints which are at an accessible height and have adequate space for disabled users.

“This new Government-backed standard will help the industry to create and install chargepoints that everyone can use easily, making the experience better and fairer for disabled people across the UK.”

Barry Le Grys MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Motability said:

“We are proud to have co-sponsored this world-leading accessibility standard. Motability’s research has shown that half of disabled people will be reliant on public EV charging by 2035, yet they face a host of problems using existing public charging infrastructure. If this does not change there is a real risk that disabled people will be left behind in the UK’s transition to electric vehicles.

“This standard will aid providers in developing new infrastructure at pace which is fit for the future. Going forward we are keen to explore ways to ensure compliance with the new standard so that electric vehicle charging can be truly accessible for all.”

The standard, named PAS 1899:2022: Electric vehicles – Accessible charging – Specification, contains the best available evidence on making EV charging accessible for disabled people, and can be downloaded here.

Disabled people were involved at every stage of the development of the standard. The steering group that informed the standard included representation from disabled people, disabled people’s organisations, disability charities, industry bodies, transport agencies, representatives from central government and from devolved administrations, and chargepoint providers.

Designability, a charity that enables disabled people to live with greater independence, was part of the steering group which informed the standard. In partnership with Motability they have also produced freely available design guidance for providers of public electric vehicle (EV) charge point infrastructure, to ensure accessibility for all users. This can be viewed here.