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Trials begin as Motability ponders how disabled drivers adapt to EVs

Trials are under way with Motability Scheme customers to identify the challenges and solutions to electric car use for disabled drivers.

The leasing organisation, which supports disabled people's mobility through helping them lease new cars using their disability benefits, has started a series of pilots to try to find innovative ways to support Motability Scheme customers make the switch to electric.

A perceived barrier for some is the lack of home charging facilities for an electric car, but starting with Zap Map, Charge Fairy, Co Charger and Bonnet, some initial pilots are already live with Motability Scheme customers across the UK to allay their worries.

The customers engaging in the pilot live with a range of conditions and are located across the country.

The UK Government has a deadline of 2030 for the end of sales of petrol and diesel new cars, which means that all Motability customers will need to adapt to plug-in vehicles in the coming years.

Jonathan Jenkins, head of innovation at Motability Operations, said: “As more of our Motability Scheme customers transition to EVs it’s vital that there is worry-free access to charging for everyone.

“These important initiatives will help the increasing number of customers who want to make the switch to an electric-powered vehicle but are unable to charge at home.

“I’m looking forward to partnering with more organisations and building on these initial pilots and the vital results they will deliver for our customers.”

There is a handful of electric cars already available in the Motability Scheme, including the Vauxhall Corsa-e, Hyundai Kona Electric and the Fiat 500 Electric.

Hundreds of Motability Scheme customers are trialing the Zap-Map app, which offers a UK-wide map of charging points and aims to help EV drivers locate and navigate to available charge points.

In a three-month pilot with Co Charger, a selection of Motability Scheme customers is also engaging with Co Charger's community of privately-owned chargers - Co Charger connects ‘hosts’ across the UK who have home chargers to other motorists, who do not have off-street parking or the facilities at home to install a charger.

Plus Motability Scheme customers have been trialling Bonnet’s charging app which connects 17 EV charging networks in Europe, so users access one app, with one account, and one payment to cover all charges, and in another pilot a group of Motability Scheme customers have been using Charge Fairy’s mobile electric car charging service, which was created to remove some of the barriers to everyday electric vehicle charging.

The Charge Fairy technology monitors a customer’s charge level remotely, and when their charge drops below a certain point, a Charge Fairy van visits the customer’s car, wherever it is parked, and charges it for the owner

Motability Operations is working with Founders Intelligence on the innovations.

Lexus recently became the latest car brand to join the Motability scheme.

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