EV Hub at the One Big Day event

Motability Operations marks milestone anniversary with a drive to an electric future

Motability Operations is marking 45 years of helping disabled people and their families access independent mobility with a pledge to making sure no one is left behind as the UK transitions to electric.

The company has been running the Motability Scheme since 1978 and over the years has helped more than five million people get moving.

As the industry changes, and with the government’s 2030 deadline for a ban on new petrol vehicles approaching, the company has committed £300 million and an extensive programme of tech and innovation projects to help customers make the switch to electric.

Motability Operations currently has over 670,000 customers on the road so the impact of an electric transition is significant. However, accessible public charging infrastructure, cost, and range anxiety are often named as barriers preventing disabled people from making the switch.

The company is working with manufacturers to increase the range of electric vehicles customers can choose on the Scheme and to develop solutions for adaptations to meet all needs. It covers the cost of a home charge point and installation, or the equivalent amount for public charging, and is working with tech start-ups to develop real time public infrastructure accessibility reviews and payment solutions. The company also subsidises electric cars on the Scheme to keep them affordable for customers.

Andrew Miller, chief executive of Motability Operations, said:

"We know that what we do is genuinely life-changing, we’re told by our customers how important a vehicle is to keep them connected to the word around them, to work, education, healthcare and independence.

"The industry has changed enormously since we handed over the first set of keys 45 years ago but our priority of keeping the customer at the heart of what we do has not. We keep meeting the needs of our customers so they can remain independently mobile. We make sure no one is left behind.

"We’re proud to be leading the way in embracing the move to electric, but we also know that it’s a worrying time for a lot of our customers, and there are design and accessibility challenges that must be addressed before they can make the switch. A lot of our customers don’t have off-road parking and public charging is often inaccessible, up kerbs or in narrow parking spaces. Charging cables are heavy, it can be confusing to juggle different payment apps, and hard to plan longer journeys. It can be difficult to accommodate the battery alongside vehicle adaptations. These are the things that we, and our customers, are dealing with.

"We’re making sure everyone continues to have access to the vehicle that’s right for them and their families, and we’ll keep working with manufacturers and investing in innovative technologies so that our customers can remain independent whatever the future holds.”

In 2013 the Motability Scheme added its first electric car, the Nissan Leaf, to its list. Since then, the selection has grown to include a wide range of electric vehicles. The Scheme now has over 17,500 EVs on the road and another 16,000 applications in the pipeline.