Motability partners with Designability on accessible charging

National disability charity Motability has partnered with accessible product charity Designability on making EV charging infrastructure work for those living with disabilities in the UK.

In the past year, Motability conducted extensive research to improve understanding about the challenges disabled people face when using private and public transport, in order to ensure their voices help to inform its work.

Lack of accessibility across the UK’s EV charging infrastructure has been highlighted as a key problem area and with the ICE sales ban in 2030, Motability is now focusing on charge point accessibility to ensure disabled people are not left behind.

The charity has now awarded grant funding to Designability on EV charging infrastructure with the experience, shared knowledge and expertise of Designability’s researchers, product designers and engineers used to achieve the project’s aim of providing an understanding for industry and government of what accessibility means and what best practice could look like for EV charge points.

The scoping and discovery phase of the project began in January 2021 with findings to be explored further with disabled people to help inform best practice for accessible design in this area. 

Catherine Marris, Innovation Lead at Motability, said: “Our research has found that current EV charging points have not been designed with the needs of people living with disabilities in mind and it’s imperative that they’re included in this future shift. Given the high cost of retrofitting major infrastructure, there is a robust commercial and social case for building in accessibility now to ensure that the transition is inclusive for everyone.

“We have joined forces with Designability as their objectives align closely to our own and they’re experts in the field of user centred design and product creation to increase independence for disabled people. As a world leading project, we are determined to work towards ensuring that future charging infrastructure is inclusive and accessible for anyone living with disabilities.

“One of our charity’s key priorities is to work with industry and Government to amplify the voices of disabled people in the transport system and innovate solutions to charge point accessibility challenges. If you are interested in collaborating with us, please get in touch.”

Catharine Brown, chief executive at Designability, said: “This is an exciting new project for Designability. Our expertise in working with disabled people makes us perfectly placed to find solutions to these every day challenges – which will only increase as more people want to drive electric cars. It is shocking that the needs of disabled people have not been taken into account as this new technology becomes mainstream, and we are delighted to extend our relationship with Motability to create cutting edge design solutions.

“For over 50 years we have listened to disabled people describe their challenges and created innovative products which help them to live the life they choose. This project will enable us to have impact on the lives of millions of disabled drivers for many years to come.”

  • image from Shutterstock

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