Britain’s gradual move to more electric vehicles and charging will be a challenge for disabled drivers in particular, said one leading provider of mobility solutions.
“Over our entire customer base, not just those in EVs, nearly half live on less than £20,000 a year, and only about half have off-street parking,” said Miller.
“When we asked our customers recently, 57% gave the lack of public charge points as a reason for not switching to electric, and of those 34,000 who are in EVs already, nine out of ten said their experience of charging publicly was poor.”
Miller explained how this insight should be used to ensure a truly inclusive transition that leaves no one behind, and how the company is focussed on helping its customers overcome barriers.
Outlining how the company’s operating model works, reinvesting every penny of profit back into the scheme, Miller revealed that £300m had been set aside “to make EVs more affordable and accessible … we’ve currently spent close to half of this with more to come.” He also outlined over £13m of investment in installing more than 25,000 home chargers for customers.
But the game changer for Miller and for all of the Motability Scheme’s 700,000 customers, is public charging. Challenges such as charging points at unsuitable heights for wheelchair users, heavy charging cables, lack of space to park and the height of kerbs all put barriers in the way. Range anxiety is a real concern and it’s made even more so when public infrastructure isn’t accessible.
Miller talked about the innovative pilots the company is running, such as an app that collects real time, user-generated reviews of public chargers and a card that consolidates different providers and payment methods.
Another pilot is taking place as part of Europe’s biggest trial of vehicle-to-home technology that uses a car’s battery to power a home, or sells energy back to the grid. “Our job is to find solutions,” said Miller.