Weekly Poll – Electric Vehicle Charge Points (Week Beginning 26 October 2020)
Each week Disability Equality Scotland send out a poll question to our members on a topical issue. For the week beginning 26 October 2020, we asked a question about electric vehicle charge points.
Question 1. Do you have any concerns about the accessibility of electric vehicle charge points?
- YES – 89% (71 respondents)
- NO – 11% (9 respondents)
Respondents identified the following main themes and key concerns. We provide verbatim comments where appropriate to illustrate strength of feeling or personal experience.
Respondents reported that there are physical barriers which restrict disabled people from accessing electric vehicle charge points. Wheelchair users have encountered difficulties reaching the charge points due to physical barriers, such as bollards and unsuitable surfaces.
“There has always been a barrier around it or grass which is normally wet and mucky, and my wheelchair wheels would sink in and I would get stuck.”
“I try to use the charging points in Arrochar, but the bull bars mean I can’t get close enough in my wheelchair to plug in.”
“I haven’t come across any I can use without help. As a wheelchair user the plug-in point is too far to reach, and I can’t get close enough.”
“If the infrastructure were designed to be properly accessible, with wheelchair access, braille markings etc, then I would switch to an electric car. Until then, I’m not willing to submit myself to the whims of the installation planners while so many are still so plainly inaccessible.”
As a solution, some respondents suggested that barriers should be removed and charging points positioned on a solid base. There was also a suggestion to increase the space that surrounds the charging bay.
“Charging points need to be on a solid base with a tarmac or concrete surrounding and should not have the crash barriers around them. I realise that these are here to prevent people driving/reversing into them, but it means they are not accessible to many disabled people.”
“Can we please make sure the charging points have a stable base around them. Grass etc doesn’t work. It needs to be tarmac or concrete.”
“Charge points in our locality require more space around them to allow wheelchair users easier access to them.”
Location of Charge Points
Disabled people highlighted that in some locations, the charge points are not situated close enough to the front of the car park, which can be challenging for people with mobility impairments when accessing services.
“Please add electric charging points to accessible parking bays at transport terminus. We need to park close to our destination and if using our car to get to the train station or bus station it would make sense to charge it when parked.”
“I use a wheelchair and have considered the switch to electric but, alas, have found too many roadside, destination, and fast chargers are only available far away from the disabled parking, and usually are built only for ambulatory people when it comes to the height of the cable dock point, the length of the cable, the way the user is expected to be able to snake it around the car up to the charge door, and so on.”
“Any of these charge points I have seen so far have just been in a general area of the car park and have been a good distance away from Blue Badge parking spaces.”
Blue Badge Spaces
However, a major concern for disabled people regarding location, is the conversion of Blue Badge parking bays into electric vehicle charge points.
“Blue Badge parking spaces are being turned into charging spaces and this is making it harder for disabled people to find parking.”
“I notice in my locality that charge points are being placed in what was originally a disabled parking space thus taking away a Blue Badge space. No new spaces made for Blue Badge holders to replace these lost to charging points.”
“At Bathgate train station they have put charging points in the Blue Badge parking spaces which means less places for Blue Badge holders to park and the other spaces are too far away. Result is I do not use the train now and drive all the way to work. Non-disabled people who need charging points don’t need to park so close to the station. The further away from the station you put Blue Badge parking the more problems this causes and the less likely disabled people are to use the train.”
Engaging with Disabled People
To ensure that electric vehicle charge points are designed to be accessible, it is vital that planners and policy officials have ongoing engagement with disabled people.
“Make sure you engage with disabled people in the design.”
“Involve disabled people in the design and then have a standard design that gives consistency in style so we can be guaranteed accessibility.”
“If you speak to disabled people they will help in the accessible design.”
The majority of respondents (89%) were concerned by the accessibility of electric vehicle charge points. Concerns were raised about the barriers that are in place which restrict disabled people from accessing the charge points, such as bollards and unsuitable surfaces. Disabled people also highlighted that charge points can be located far away from the desired location. However, a major concern is the conversion of existing Blue Badge spaces into charge points. Meaningful and ongoing engagement with disabled people can help to address and alleviate current concerns.