The U.S. Access Board has released Design Recommendations for Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, a technical assistance document that reviews existing requirements and new recommendations for making electric vehicle (EV) charging stations accessible. This technical assistance will aid in the development of a national network of EV charging stations that is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. The technical assistance document is a valuable resource for those involved in the planning, designing, building, installing, and use of EV charging stations, including State and local governments, designers and developers, electrical and construction professionals, equipment manufacturers, automakers, utility providers, charge point operators and e-mobility service providers, EV owners, and people with disabilities.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes dedicated funding to the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure and the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. These programs will fund the development of a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations. Under the NEVI program, States are required to submit an EV Infrastructure Deployment Plan that describes how they intend to use their allocated NEVI program funds. Before these plans are implemented and this infrastructure is constructed, it is important to clarify accessibility requirements and best practices to ensure everyone can use EV charging stations for local and long-distance trips.
The Board’s technical assistance document covers Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) accessibility requirements applicable to EV charging stations, such as technical provisions for operable parts and accessible routes. It also clarifies differences between EV charging spaces and parking spaces. Accessible communication features are included under Section 508 requirements which are applicable to any EV charging stations procured or used by federal agencies.
The document also provides multiple recommendations for designing accessible EV charging stations by offering guidance on elements not addressed in the current ADA and ABA Accessibility Guidelines, including the size of EV charging spaces and location of the access aisle. Additionally, the document discusses recommendations for EV charging stations installed in the public right-of-way, in parking garages, at residential facilities, and at pull-through locations. Informative graphics are integrated throughout the document to illustrate examples of accessible EV charging stations.
The technical assistance document raises the issues of scoping and signage and introduces a “use last” model for signage that designates the accessible EV charging stations and spaces without restricting use to only people with disability parking placards/license plates.
As indicated in the Board’s 2022 Unified Agenda, the Board intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking on accessibility guidelines for EV charging stations. These guidelines will supplement the Board’s Accessibility Guidelines under the ADA and ABA with scoping and technical requirements specific to EV charging stations.