Motability: Exploring the Accessibility of Electric Vehicle Charge Points

Image of page from Motability report showing charging hub and lack of access space for wheelchair user
4 Feb 2021

RiDC secured funding from the Motability Tenth Anniversary Trust to research the accessibility of electric vehicle charge points.

With electric vehicles increasing in popularity, we needed to know what specific challenges disabled people might face in using or charging one.

To do this, we first conducted an online survey with members of our pan-disability consumer panel, finding out the range of barriers for disabled people in using an electric vehicle.  We then ran an in-depth piece of user testing and engagement to understand practically what accessibility issues there were at electric vehicle charge points. This involved disabled panel members going through the whole process of driving to charge point sites in an electric vehicle and charging it themselves. Our team were on-hand to record the findings and experiences as they happened.  

“RiDC has deep and detailed expertise in relation to consumer and user testing with disabled people.” 

Catherine Marris, Innovation Lead, Motability the charity

We produced a full report, including photos which demonstrated exactly where the difficulties lie in being able to charge the vehicle, for wheelchair users especially.  This was used to inform the charity and motivated them to work on influencing policy and practice in this area.

“The research helped frame our thinking on accessibility issues for charge point infrastructure and gave us a way to detail concretely the challenges disabled people will face in the upcoming energy transition if existing infrastructure is not changed.” 

“This has had an enormous impact on our work more widely. Establishing these initial issues led to another piece of research with an electric vehicles expert and eventually a proposal to our Board of Governors that as a charity we start influencing and innovation on these charge point challenges.” 

“We have now set up an entire project and workstream focused on these issues, engaging with major government agencies, big industry players, and disabled people’s organisations to try and solve them - continuously using the report as evidence and a basis and rationale for our forward plan.” 

“We had a positive experience working with RiDC – a real pleasure to work with you across different contexts and projects.” 

Catherine Marris, Innovation Lead, Motability the charity 

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