RAA to set the standard for disability access to EV charging

3 December, 2022

Click here or see below for vision + audio of interviews with Charles Mountain [00:00-1:50] and Warwick Gregg [1:50-2:51], plus supporting cutaway vision.

Click here to download photos of Charles Mountain and Warwick Gregg.

RAA is conducting an important trial to create access standards for people with disabilities seeking to use electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

In partnership with disability consultants Able Access Design, RAA will test that planned charging site designs for South Australia’s EV charging network meet specific accessibility needs.

With 3 December being the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, it’s a timely reminder of the challenges those with accessibility needs can encounter when accessing new infrastructure. As an advocate for all road users, RAA Senior Manager Safety & Infrastructure Charles Mountain said the trial was a natural step by RAA to build a charging network that’s accessible to all.

“Drivers with accessibility needs are often left behind when it comes to infrastructure development. In delivering the first Statewide EV charging network for South Australia, we have the unique opportunity to get this right from the beginning and develop a standard for charging site designs,” Mr Mountain said.

“The trial will ensure drivers with accessibility needs will be able to use our rapid and ultra-rapid charging sites across the State’s electric vehicle charging network.”

“As an organisation with a strong history advocating for all road users, ensuring this infrastructure was accessible was a critical part of our design of the charging sites.”

The trial will be held at Tonsley Innovation District and will centre on drivers with varied levels of mobility, ensuring they have adequate space to exit their vehicle to easily and safely access a charging point, recharge their EV, and make payment. With most charging sites un-staffed, drivers will need to be able to self-sufficiently undertake these steps.

Able Access Design Consultant Warwick Gregg has experienced first-hand the challenges that come with using infrastructure that hasn’t considered his needs.

“Too often wheelchair users like myself and those with other considerations encounter infrastructure that presents more challenges than it should,” he said.

“At Able Access Design we work with organisations and governments to help inform and co-design inclusive environments. This project with RAA has been a great learning experience for all involved and we look forward to seeing the results of the trial shared as design recommendations all operators can consider for their networks.”

The findings and design recommendations of the accessibility trial will be published in early 2023 and will guide the installation of rapid and ultra-rapid charging sites for South Australia’s charging network.

The electric vehicle charging network is an initiative of the State Government, who awarded RAA a grant to help build the border-to-border EV charging infrastructure. The installation of the first DC rapid and ultra-rapid sites for South Australia’s EV charging network is expected to start in the New Year.