Accessibility guide for

electric car charge points

A photo of an open electric car fuel cap with a cord plugged in for charging.

The BSI has recently released PAS 1899:2022, detailing new accessibility specifications for electric car charge points, as well as the public realm surrounding said charger points, and guidance detailing online information provision for charger points. The specification factors differing power ratings and locations of car charger points, with the aim of helping providers reach their minimum accessibility requirements.

The guidance also details information dependent on factors such as whether cables are tethered, the heaviness of the cables, as well as the limitations of the environment for on-street charger points. Different disabilities (whether that be physical, or sensory) will affect different individuals’ capability of using charger points, hence the introduction of the guidance. This is because Charger point usability is largely dependent on a person’s comprehension and physique. A person with limited dexterity or strength might not even be able to pick up a charger port, while a person with learning disabilities might not be able to navigate the accompanying visual interfaces.

Due to the fact that many people often have more than one single disability, a person with a combination of impairments is also considered in the guidance as a watermark to achieving a fully inclusive design.

Wheelchair users and people of short stature must also be considered, particularly when deciding the height of a charge point socket, as well as the screen which typically accompanies an electric car charging point. Therefore, all charger points are now only considered accessible if they can be used from both a standing and seated position.

Further specifications exist if your charger point is stationed on higher ground, such as a curb, which increases the height and potential distance a wheelchair user must navigate to reach the charger point. Effectively, the guidance details that providers must take account of the height difference between road and pavement, normally 100-125mm, and account for this difference. Such mitigation might need to include the use of different mounting bases to accommodate variations in curb height to vehicle bay level so that the charger point is accessible at all heights and can be operated by all users.

A symbol for electric car charge points painted on tarmac.

The guidance also details the appropriate access heights of all components, including the charge point socket, charging cable, payment machines, and screen interfaces.

Charge point socket outlets must be a minimum of 800mm in height and 950mm maximum, while the tethered charging cable connector handle must also be at a minimum and maximum of 800mm and 950mm respectively when in the holster. Meanwhile, the bottom of a screen or visual interface must be at a minimum of 800mm in height and the top at a maximum of 950mm. And the bottom edge of the payment terminal must be at a minimum of 800mm in height and a maximum of 1000mm.

User testing monitored by the BSI has found that the usability of charger point cables is one of the significant barriers frequently faced by disabled people. For instance, mobility-impaired drivers have struggled to in equal parts hold, position, and move the cable, often due to its weight (especially true for higher-powered cable points) and, commonly for wheelchair users, an unsuitable length. A fully accessible charger point cable must strike a balance between accommodating different vehicle sizes, and the surrounding environment so that it does not act as a trip hazard, cause obstructions to the surrounding environment, and that the unused length of the cables is sufficiently supported by the terrain.

Considerations must also be factored in for the ergonomic design of the connector grip or handle, which is crucial for users who are elderly or mobility impaired. The guidance details at length how this can be achieved by ensuring the grip considers single-hand use, two-handed use, and those who might grip without digits (amputation and reduced use of hands).

Further barriers to access identified include the height of a charge point screen or visual interface, the ground surface below the charger point in question, and visual contrast provided between the charge point and surrounding surfaces in relation to weather conditions, day and nighttime use, wireless/inductive charge points and further details surrounding on-street charge points.

If you want to create an accessible parking bay that meets best practice accessibility standards, consider allowing the Direct Access team to audit your facility. Our extensive experience creating accessible car parks for both public and private enterprises, including for entire County Councils, will allow you to meet all of the requirements set out by this new standard.

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