Designability and Motability report

National disability charities Motability and Designability have published findings from the user engagement phase of its project to make electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the UK accessible to disabled people.

As reported earlier in the year, the two charities have been working closely to engage with disabled people, gathering detailed feedback to help identify what accessible truly looks like and to fully understand their needs.

The report, describes insights, experiences and views shared by disabled people who currently use EVs, and those who have not yet made the transition, as well as their carers, drivers and passengers.

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Insights were explored through a combination of in person sessions at charge points, video or telephone interviews, and focus groups, with participants sharing their views on making journeys, parking (including payment), fuelling and charging EVs.

The report’s findings will inform future design and public charging infrastructure guidance and standards to help improve the charging experience for disabled EV users in the UK, and make EVs a practical option.

Accessible parking with room to manoeuvre around the vehicle was found to be a key concern for disabled people. In a public charging environment, the ability to fully open doors, manoeuvre equipment and use lifts and ramps is paramount.

In addition, users highlighted that it is important to have flat, smooth parking spaces with level access, or nearby available dropped kerb access onto pedestrian areas and nearby amenities.

Different providers requiring different processes to enable charging to take place was confusing or frustrating for some participants, the report found.

Users identified issues with the payment process, confusing instructions on charge point units, the position of charge points in relation to the parking space, using and handling cables, connectors and sockets and waiting for the vehicle to be charged (particularly focusing on the availability of accessible facilities nearby)/

The EV sector was frequently described as complex and confusing, with users typically feeling like they had to carry out a significant amount of research when it comes to charging an EV.

The lack of reliable, accessible public charging infrastructure and signposting on accessibility left many feeling that they had no choice but to build significant contingency into their travel plans.

The use of the vehicle battery to operate hoists, lifts, air conditioning and heating could also have a disproportionate effect on the available travel range for disabled people.

Cost of charging, availability and reliability of charge points and journey type/length were also key considerations for those taking part.

Commenting on the report, Keir Haines, Senior Product Designer at Designability, says: “It is clear from our research with disabled EV users that public charging solutions are failing them in many ways.

“We have seen some examples of good practice that the charging industry can learn from, however usability, reliability and most importantly for disabled people, accessibility is often poor in some, if not all aspects of public charging.

“Whether it be the parking provision and environment around the charger, the charging unit itself, the presence and clarity of signage and information or the registration and payment process, there are many opportunities for better design solutions.

“It is also clear that accessibility needs are extremely wide ranging – and so the challenge now is to develop solutions that can accommodate the breadth of access needs, to enable as many people as possible to have a convenient and enjoyable public charging experience.”

Catherine Marris, Head of Innovation at Motability, adds: “Our research identified that by 2035, up to 1.35 million disabled people will be wholly or partially reliant on public charging infrastructure, but that it has not been designed with their needs in mind.

“As the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars approaches it is imperative that disabled people aren’t left behind in the race to install the UK’s charging infrastructure.

“Motability is in a unique position to be able to bring together Government, disabled people, charities, industry and electricity networks to create world leading accessibility standards. The user engagement research conducted by Designability is a crucial step in ensuring that the voices and experience of disabled people is front and centre of this guidance in the future”.

Designability’s human-centred design approach and xperience in working closely with disabled people means that it is uniquely and expertly positioned to assist Motability in this important project and ensure that EV charging is accessible to everyone including disabled people, according to Catharine Brown, Chief Executive at Designability.

She concluded: “Informing best-practice design for EV charge points will make them more accessible for all. It is hoped that the design guidance shared from this project will have influence throughout the globe as the UK sets the recognised standards in EV charger accessibility.”

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https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/vcsPRAsset_3858494_268460_69f4ebfb-40c0-4713-b7f0-6f73bb5c910d_0.jpg?fit=900%2C632&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/vcsPRAsset_3858494_268460_69f4ebfb-40c0-4713-b7f0-6f73bb5c910d_0.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Liane McIvorNewsroomReports & ResearchSector NewsThird Sectoraccessible,charging,Designability,Disability,EV,Motability,vehicleNational disability charities Motability and Designability have published findings from the user engagement phase of its project to make electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in the UK accessible to disabled people. As reported earlier in the year, the two charities have been working closely to engage with disabled people, gathering...News, views & products for mobility, access and independent living professionals