Big plans are needed to tackle our carbon emissions, if we are going to meet global environmental targets and fight climate change. Governments worldwide are tackling traffic pollution issues by encouraging the uptake of modern electric vehicles (EVs), instead of traditional petrol and diesel vehicles, as they are much better for the environment.
If you are considering trading in your old car for an electric vehicle, this can be a big decision for anyone. It can feel daunting as you consider how the driving experience will be, and how you’ll manage to charge the car. However, for a disabled driver, switching your vehicle can be even more of a challenge.
Before you go out and choose your new car, it’s important to think carefully about your specific requirements. Here, we look at three things to consider as a disabled driver before investing in your new electric vehicle.
Which electric vehicle will suit you?
Before driving away in your new EV, consider what journeys you normally do. Do you mostly travel very short distances, or are you commonly doing long journeys and covering a lot of miles? Although EVs have improved in recent years to extend their range, you’ll likely still need to make some stops on the way to your destination or on the way home.
However, EVs can still be a better option than a traditional car for people with disabilities, as they offer a smoother, quieter drive. They are also automatic, which reduces the amount of manual actions needed to control the car, making it easier to control and putting less emphasis on joint mobility.
Where will you charge up?
If you generally only travel short distances, you will usually charge your car at home. But when you’re out and about, you may struggle to find an accessible charging point, despite 40% of households in the UK including someone with a disability. This can be because of the height of the point, and also where you will be able to park in order to use it. Some charging stations line up cars next to each other, which means that it can be difficult to easily manoeuvre around your vehicle.
You should also consider whether you can comfortably lift the charging cable – there are options for those with limited mobility, strength and grip, so make sure that you can get a cable that works for you before you commit to buying an EV.
Before you buy an EV, it’s worth looking if there are charging points readily available for any regular trips you take, and check if they cater to your needs. You should also consider the extra time this would add to your journey.
Is it accessible and adaptable?
Electric vehicles can be much simpler to drive than manual vehicles, but they are not without challenges. Some people find the interface of the car to be challenging to use, and many models are not built to accommodate wheelchairs or other accessibility items you may need to travel with.
The good news is that electric cars can be adapted to suit you, such as with ramps and steering aids, but this can be costly – so it is worth exploring your options and what you may need to add to an EV before buying one.
To sum up
An EV can be a great choice for many drivers – they offer a smoother experience, and they’re better for the planet. However, choosing a new car is a big decision, so it’s important to understand all the facts and look into how the car will work practically for your specific needs before you commit to buying one.