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Equal EVs: Accessibility for disabled motorists

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution is working on an innovative project called Equal EV, exploring the barriers for  people living with disabilities switching to electric vehicles (EVs).

Energy Systems Catapult is supporting the second phase of Equal EV, examining customer journeys and how existing and emerging technologies can address and overcome the barriers identified in phase one.

The Challenge

SSEN and Disabled Motoring UK released the report on Equal EV’s first phase, which outlined the four main barriers identified by the motorists, transport industry experts and organisations for the uptake of EVs from drivers and motorists with disabilities and vulnerabilities.

These main barriers were:

  • Accessibility of chargepoints, to ensure drivers can access and use chargepoints
  • Costs, including high upfront costs and additional costs for modifications.
  • Range anxiety, ensuring disabled motorists do not become vulnerable should their EV run out of charge.
  • Different manufacturers and charging compatibilities, which negatively impacts the consumer experience and requires drivers to seek specific guidance and support.

With the UK and Scottish Governments both setting ambitious targets for the adoption of EVs and approximately 2.9 million blue badge holders in 2020 in the UK, Equal EV is playing an important in role in supporting a fair transition to the EVs.

The Solution

The second phase of Equal EV is focussing on four key areas in the adoption and use of EVs by motorists and drivers with disabilities and vulnerabilities:

  • Technology landscape: Working with leading experts to examine and understand the available and emerging EV technologies and services, and how they can be best utilised to support a fair transition to EVs.
  • Defining the customer journey: Working with different drivers to map out customer journeys and the products, services, and routines they use, to examine where the barriers and challenges identified in phase 1 exist and the different solutions available.
  • Defining the roles and responsibilities: As new technologies develop and become available it is important the roles and responsibilities for supporting and implementing them are well defined. Phase two will work with different stakeholders, equipment manufacturers, and community groups to build sector support and gather feedback for how these technologies can be best supported.
  • Investigating different solutions: By using existing customer data and electricity network data, phase two will examine different solutions and approaches for geographic locations, and will be designing trials for the most promising solutions in SSEN’s distribution area.

The full report on Equal EV’s first phase can be found here. Equal EV is an 18-month Network Innovation Allowance (NIA) project which began November 2020 and secured £310,000 in NIA funding.

Lisa Doogan, Head of Customer Service and Stakeholder Strategy at SSEN

“We are excited to be working with Energy Systems Catapult on this second phase of Equal EV; examining solutions to overcome the obstacles identified by drivers and motorists with disabilities and vulnerabilities during Equal EV’s first phase.”

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