Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) continue to grow as the UK works towards building a high-power, reliable charging network. However, the fast-paced rollout of EV charging has come at the cost of accessibility.
National disability charity Motability estimates that there will be 2.7 million drivers or passengers with a disability by 2035 (the date after which any new car bought in the UK will need to be fully electric), with half reliant on public electric charging. Drivers with restricted mobility will make this number even greater.
So why is improving accessibility so important for landlords to consider this year? Because not only is there a demand for accessible public EV chargers to be built on sites such as petrol forecourts and retail/leisure parks, but Motability and the Department for Transport have commissioned the British Standards Institution to develop accessible standards for charging bays. These will be published for consultation in the coming months and could become a legal requirement.
Osprey Charging is one of the fastest-growing GB-wide networks of rapid EV charging points, and we are in the unique position of being on the board reviewing these minimum standards.
All of our new sites are designed to consider mobility requirements, including: larger bays without kerbs; hardware with screens and handles at a lower height that can be operated from a wheelchair; and charger cables that are weight-managed and manoeuvrable. Even payment methods are important – simple tap-and-go bank card readers can be operated with one hand, minimising time standing up.
With landlords deciding which CPO to partner with right now to meet customer charging demand, this year will be important. Those that get it right will future-proof their sites, enhance their reputation and enjoy increased customer footfall and dwell time and a long-term, profitable partnership with their CPO. Those that get it wrong can face costly delays, expensive retrofits if hardware needs replacing and empty parking bays with inaccessible, complicated chargers.
Andrew Nosworthy is commercial director of Osprey Charging