Call for wheelchair access and 24-hour helpline at electric vehicle charge points across Scotland

Charging points for electric vehicles should be safe and accessible for wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties, according to the country’s leading car breakdown service.

By Ilona Amos
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 4:55 am

The call comes after a survey by the AA revealed more than three quarters of members said charge points for EVs should include spaces for wheelchairs to make it easier for disabled drivers to power up their cars.

Four out of five of those questioned said charging facilities should also operate a 24-hour helpline for users.

The AA has been highlighting issues of accessibility and security at charging posts for some time, with many sited in dark corners of car parks with little room to manoeuvre – places where drivers can feel vulnerable using a mobile phone and credit card to refuel.

The AA is calling for public charge points for electric vehicles to be made safer and include space for wheelchair users

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Charging posts need to be well-lit, close to amenities, with space around the vehicle to allow people to use walking or mobility aids.

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“It is also essential that the instructions, screen and cables can be easily viewed and used from a sitting and standing position.

“Our experience on the EV Rally of Scotland brought it home to us that some people with limited mobility would struggle with the height and weight of cables, particularly in enclosed areas with little space.

“Creating new charging posts that are easily accessible will not only benefit disabled drivers, but will be a great help to our ageing population – and indeed all drivers.

“We are getting to the point where the uptake of EVs is moving quickly from early-adopters, who perhaps put up with more quirks in the system, to more mainstream drivers who will rightly want the infrastructure to meet their expectations.

“All individuals also need to be safe and feel safe, using the charging infrastructure at any time of the day or night.”

Research estimates there will be 2.7 million UK drivers or passengers with a disability by 2035, with half reliant on public charge points.

Currently almost one in ten new cars across the nation are bought on behalf of disabled people.

With the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars just eight years away, campaigners say it is essential that charging infrastructure is accessible for all drivers.

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