Andrew Miller, chief executive of Motability Operations, has explained how the lived experience of its 700,000 disabled customers should be used in making a switch to electric vehicles (EV) that works for everyone.
Motability Operations, who are a partner for the Transport+Energy Forum in November and the commercial company that runs the Motability Scheme, leasing cars, powered wheelchairs and scooters to help disabled people and their families access independent mobility.
Miller said that the scheme had already moved more than 34,000 people into EVs and currently buys more than 7% of all new electric vehicles in the UK, but explained there was so much more to do to.
He told the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association’s (BVLRA) Fleets in Charge conference: “Over our entire customer base, not just those in EVs, nearly half live on less than £20,000 a year, and only about half have off-street parking,” said Miller. When we asked our customers recently, 57% gave the lack of public charge points as a reason for not switching to electric, and of those 34,000 who are in EVs already, nine out of ten said their experience of charging publicly was poor.”
Miller explained how this insight should be used to ensure a truly inclusive transition that leaves no one behind, and how the company is focussed on helping its customers overcome barriers.
Outlining how the company’s operating model works, reinvesting every penny of profit back into the scheme, Miller revealed that £300m had been set aside “to make EVs more affordable and accessible … we’ve currently spent close to half of this with more to come.”
He also outlined over £13m of investment in installing more than 25,000 home chargers for customers.
Miller also focused on public charging, stating the challenges, such as charging points at unsuitable heights for wheelchair users, heavy charging cables, lack of space to park and the height of kerbs, put barriers in the way. Range anxiety was also “a real concern” and it’s made even more so when public infrastructure isn’t accessible.
He also touched on the 33,000 disabled people who rely on wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) and for whom there is currently no electric design solution.
Motability Operations is working with industry to solve the issue, as Miller explained: “It is too important to get wrong.”
Image courtesy of Motability