Blue Badge Holders Excluded From EV Revolution
by Becky Harrison |
posted 21 October 2021
Investigators have found that many of the UK’s 2.5 million Blue Badge holders risk being excluded from Britain’s EV revolution. Research by Auto Express has revealed that EV charging providers are systematically failing to meet their accessibility obligations under the Equality Act - and the government is moving too slowly to protect the interests of disabled drivers.
Auto Express is now demanding ‘Equal Access for All’ in a campaign calling for:
Urgent provision of accessible EV charge sites
Government regulation on minimum numbers
Companies to meet Equality Act 2010 obligations
EV-driver and elite Paralympic basketball player Ade Adepitan has backed the calls, telling Auto Express that existing charging infrastructure is often “rubbish” and does not work for the disabled community. Led by Auto Express Consumer and Features Editor, Chris Rosamond, the investigation unearthed a catalogue of failures, ranging from equipment that was unnecessarily difficult for wheelchair users to access to a lack of appropriate signage.
Auto Express is now campaigning for the government to supercharge the consultation process on making the network accessible for all disabled drivers, and for infrastructure providers to get ahead of legislation, as the roll out of chargers gathers pace.
Chris Rosamond said: “Our investigation revealed a shocking disregard for accessibility needs in the UK’s public charging network, with providers seemingly in a wholesale breach of Equality Act 2010 obligations, and government lagging on legislation with consultations only just beginning.
“There’s been a systematic failure to anticipate disabled needs when installing charging infrastructure, and there’s no Government regulation as a back-stop to ensure disabled needs are met”, he continued.
Charging infrastructure remains the number one concern for ‘EV-curious’ drivers, as runs on petrol forecourts and the approaching ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 accelerate interest in EV adoption.
Paralympian Ade Adepitan has driven a Tesla Model S adapted with hand controls since 2016, and has racked up almost 40,000 miles in his EV. “Is the infrastructure perfect? Far from it. Does it work for the disabled community? Absolutely not”, he said.
“I’m so lucky because I’m a really able disabled person, but there are so many charge points that are rubbish. I’ve been cursing and swearing so many times; If I get too close to the charge point, then I can’t open the door to get my chair out, and if I go further away then I’m too close to the curbside. Other chargers are either too high and you can’t see the screen, or they’re in an awkward position for you to plug the cables in.”
“It’s awkward, but that’s just like the public transport system, and challenges aren’t new to any disabled person. We need to get more disabled people driving EVs.”