Disabled drivers are facing an uphill task to get new electric vehicles they can afford for their purposes.
Motability Operations, Motability the Charity, and Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Converters Association (WAVCA) hosted a dedicated event this summer to start the conversations on tackling the significant challenges facing the move to electric for manufacturing and adapting Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV).
The sector is facing ongoing supply chain disruption and the transition to electric vehicles will be complex for those with the most extensive mobility requirements. The Changing Lives in an Electric World event provided a platform for key industry leaders to discuss how, with greater collaboration and communication, the organisations can continue to deliver life-changing mobility solutions.
Hosted by Electrifying.com’s associate editor, Nicki Shields, topics addressed included issues of relevant vehicle availability, affordability, design and infrastructure.
Andrew Miller, CEO, Motability Operations, said, “You cannot overestimate the life-changing impact that WAVs and adaptations can have for those who rely on them.
“Motability Operations’ number one business priority is keeping our customers moving which is why we’re calling on vehicle manufacturers, industry bodies, and Government to collaborate in making sure disabled people don’t get left behind in the transition to electric vehicles.
“The Motability Scheme is built on partnerships, and as the automotive sector works through this seismic change we’re bringing together our existing partners, and actively seeking new ones, to improve EV and EWAV options for disabled people in the UK. While the WAV industry may not be the biggest financial priority for manufacturers, it’s hard to argue that there’s any more necessary or impactful product range to the people who use them. Ultimately, this event was about how we can work together to do the right thing.”
Rachael Badger, Director of Performance and Engagement at Motability the Charity, added, “There are more than 30,000 WAV users on the Motability Scheme. With this vital transport, many disabled people live fuller lives – getting out and about to see friends and family, study or work.
“More action is urgently needed to ensure that disabled people are able to us EVs, so that the transition to a low-carbon economy is fully inclusive and disabled people can make the journeys they want and need to.”
Organisations attending the event and supporting the push for greater industry collaboration include the Department for Transport, Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, Designability, and manufacturers including Ford, Volkswagen, Renault, Mercedes and Toyota.
Recipients of the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance, Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment, War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement or Armed Forces Independence Payment can choose to use their weekly allowance to pay for the lease of a vehicle through the Motability Scheme.