In its role as the national standards body, BSI has launched PAS 1899:2022, Electric vehicles – Accessible charging – Specification, sponsored by the UK Government and the charity Motability.
With the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars and vans due to end in 2030, demand for EV charging throughout the UK is increasing and only set to continue. The UK Government has announced a wide range of measures to address this, most recently the new Growth Plan 2022 which will accelerate two innovative EV infrastructure projects, the Local EV Infrastructure Fund, and the Rapid Charging Fund.
However, disabled drivers, passengers and pedestrians have experienced accessibility issues when using public charging points. In response to these challenges, in 2021 Motability and the UK Government formed a partnership to co-sponsor a new accessibility standard for public EV charging points, PAS 1899.
Moving forward, the new standard will help procurers of public charging points ensure that charging an EV – the physical infrastructure and experience of accessing and using a charge point to charge an EV – is accessible for all users, including disabled people.
“This new standard will help ensure that charging point providers and procurers can anticipate and remove any obstacles that could prevent a user from making full and independent use of the charging point,” said Scott Steedman, director-general, Standards at BSI.
“No-one should be left behind as we transition towards a net-zero economy, and by ensuring that as many people as possible can make use of electric vehicles, we increase the UK’s chances of reaching ambitious net-zero goals as well as ensuring that the transition is one that is just and inclusive.
“Throughout this transition, BSI will continue to convene industry, government, research groups, and consumers to create positive change for society.”
Disabled and older people can face a range of difficulties when attempting to use public EV charging points, which include charging units being of a height unsuitable for wheelchair users, charging cables which are too heavy to lift, connectors that require a high level of force to use, as well as features of the streetscape, such as the size of the parking bay or the height of the kerb.
“This standard will aid providers in developing new infrastructure at pace which is fit for the future. Going forward we are keen to explore ways to ensure compliance with the new standard so that electric vehicle charging can be truly accessible for all,” said Barry Le Grys MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Motability.
Motability’s research also found that by 2035 there will be 2.7 million disabled drivers in the UK, with up to half – 1.35 million – reliant on public EV charging points. It is therefore of paramount importance that public charging points are accessible to everyone. Embedding good practice and encouraging providers to think about inclusive design from the start of the planning process is key to achieving this.
The new standard will help to ensure public charging points are accessible for all users.
PAS 1899 contains the best available evidence on making EV charging accessible for disabled people, covering specifications such as the physical aspects of the environment surrounding fixed charge points (e.g. kerb height, ground type); the location, placement and spacing of charge points within the streetscape and relative to other infrastructure; as well as factors to be taken into account regarding the design of accessible charge points and their more immediate surrounding areas.
With disabled people involved at every stage of the development of the standard, the steering group that informed the standard included representation from disabled people, disabled people’s organisations, disability charities, industry bodies, transport agencies, representatives from central government and from devolved administrations, and charge point providers.
“We are proud to have co-sponsored this world-leading accessibility standard. Motability’s research has shown that half of disabled people will be reliant on public EV charging by 2035, yet they face a host of problems using existing public charging infrastructure,” Le Grys continued.
“If this does not change, there is a real risk that disabled people will be left behind in the UK’s transition to electric vehicles.”