BSI launches accessible electric vehicle charging standards for disabled drivers

As the world transitions to EVs, disabled drivers should not be left behind. But unfortunately, many disabled people find current designs of EV chargers challenging to use. Either the charger is at an inconvenient height for wheelchair users, the connectors require too much force, or the charging cables are too heavy to raise.

Motability and the UK government have entered into a co-sponsoring partnership to meet these challenges. A new British standard, PAS 1899:2022, has been launched to make EV chargers accessible to disabled people, which will develop its guidelines with the participation of people with disability.

This new standard is good news for disabled drivers and seniors who often face infrastructure issues when charging their electric cars. This new standard enables charging station suppliers and users to foresee and strike any difficulty that may prevent users from independent charging.

This standard provides the best measure for making EV charging accessible to people with disabilities. It covers specifications such as the location and distance between charging points within the cityscape and relative to other infrastructure.

“We are proud to be one of the sponsors of this world-leading accessibility standard,” said Barry Le Grys MBE, Motability CEO. According to Motability’s research, by 2035, half of the people with disabilities will depend on public electric vehicle charging.

Also, the standard stipulates that suppliers of public charging stations that use cables that exceed the new limits must provide “extra assistance” to disabled users. The maximum cable weight is about 6kg, which immediately excludes many powerful fast chargers.

Barry Le Grys, CEO of Motability, says: “going forward, we are keen to explore ways to ensure compliance with the new standard so that EV charging can be truly accessible.” The standard also covers factors to consider when designing accessible charge station and their surrounding areas.

Scott Steedman, director-general of BSI, says: “no one should be left behind as we transition towards a net-zero economy, ensuring that as many people can use EVs. We increase the UK’s chances of reaching ambitious net zero goals with a just and inclusive transition.”