In 2030, sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the United Kingdom will end. Already, consumers are opting to buy electric vehicles (EVs). In 2022, 16.6% of new car registrations were for EVs, up 40.1% from 2021 – in a year when overall registrations declined by 2%.
But sometimes it seems as if the infrastructure is still catching up with consumers. This is particularly true for disabled drivers, as Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson highlighted recently when she called for improved accessibility at EV charging points.
In great part, this is an issue around the design of charging bays. Often, for example, there is simply not enough space for those who need to manoeuvre a wheelchair – or there are kerbs, steps or barriers in front of the chargers. Those who need to use a walking stick, frame or crutches also often need more space.
However, another and all too often overlooked factor around EV-charging accessibility is the design of EV chargers themselves. ZPN Energy’s HUBZ 2 EV charger, due to be launched later this year, will meet PAS 1899:2022 guidelines.
This is important. Sponsored by the charity Motability and the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV), and developed in conjunction with BSI Standards Limited, PAS 1899:2022 not only aims to set new national standards, but offers specific “specifications on how to provide accessible public charge points for electric vehicles”.
On EV chargers, it recommends that:
• EV charger interfaces should be at a height that’s accessible to wheelchair users.
• Connectors should be low enough for everyone to reach and easy to attach rather than requiring a lot of force.
• Cables should be lightweight enough to be easy to use for everyone.
Since 2018, ZPN Energy has been designing and building EV chargers that adhere to the kinds of standards PAS 1899:2022 promotes. HUBZ EV chargers offer:
• User-friendly charging solution such as a wheelchair-height touchscreen interface.
• A powered, lightweight retractable charge cable offering up to 350kW charge speeds.
• Sleek, innovative design.
The next-generation HUBZ 2 charger will feature significant improvements on what is already a state-of-the-art design. In particular, the user interface, which is already among the easiest on the market to use, will be further refined so that it is easy for those in wheelchairs to view and to use.
These improvements will benefit all those who use EVs. A recurring theme in a BSI Group webinar launching PAS 1899:2022 is that EV chargers that are easier for disabled drivers to use are also easier for all drivers to use. For those building the UK’s new EV infrastructure, there is an opportunity here to imbed best practice and to avoid the need for expensive retrofits.
To learn more about how ZPN Energy can help your company be more disability friendly click below!