In recent times, there has been an increased effort to help more disabled drivers feel confident on the roads. From regulations around disabled parking spots to innovations that make it more comfortable behind the wheel, it’s becoming easier than ever for many people with disabilities to enjoy the freedom that driving can provide. Having the ability to drive yourself from A to B and not rely on public transport can make it easier to get around, and it’s a pivotal part of any person’s independence.
But as the automotive industry continues its transition to a more electric future, is enough being done to help drivers with a disability make the switch? We highlight three potential barriers and explore what, if anything, is being done to lower them.
Charging is widely considered to be one of the biggest barriers to drivers making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs). For non-disabled drivers, a lack of charging infrastructure can be an inconvenience, but for disabled drivers, it can leave them unable to charge their car in the first place.
Research has highlighted the need for more accessible charging stations to accommodate disabled drivers looking to make the switch. According to one study, 61% of disabled people claimed they would look to buy an EV only if the charging process became more accessible, compared to the 25% of non-EV drivers who said they’d be willing to buy one now.
When it comes to charging, not only does there need to be enough stations that are easily accessible, but the charging process itself can present a challenge. For instance, lifting the cable to the socket and maneuvering past all of the potential trip hazards are two features of electric charging that are yet to be addressed.
Particularly for manufacturers who don’t offer a trial period, the considerable cost of EVs could be another barrier to drivers looking to move with the times. Driving an EV is a completely different experience from any other standard car, and making such a big financial commitment without knowing whether it’s right for you is a daunting prospect.
One potential way to overcome this barrier is to rent an electric car before making an investment in a vehicle of your own. Granted, this is an additional cost on top of the price of leasing or buying a car, but it’s a great way to find out whether electric is right for you before committing fully.
Even though we’ve witnessed a huge rise in the uptake of electric vehicles in recent years, this technology is still relatively new, and there is a long way to go to educate more people about its benefits, whilst also dispelling certain myths. For example, a common concern is whether the battery life of electric vehicles can contend with long journeys, but some newer models have shown to have a similar capacity to an average-sized fuel tank.
For disabled drivers, there may be a misconception that EVs won’t be able to cater to their needs in regards to modifications or general driving experience. However, there are many ways EVs can be adapted for disabled drivers, and they’re becoming more accessible for this market than ever before.
Author information: James Ritter is a freelance writer who holds a particular interest in assistive technology and has created content for established companies based all around the world. I have a degree in creative writing and am always eager to expand my knowledge around different subjects.