Over the past several years, as the desire for more sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation has increased significantly, we have been seeing a corresponding increase in the number of electric vehicle charging stations provided in parking lots and garages. Applicable federal, state, and local accessibility laws and building codes may not specifically address how to make these charging stations accessible, but that does not mean they are exempt from compliance. Under most regulations, where electric charging stations are provided, at least one must be accessible.
But what does an accessible charging station look like?
The accessible electric vehicle parking space does not necessarily need to be reserved as an accessible parking space, but it does need to be designed so that a driver with a disability can park his or her vehicle, exit, and operate the charging station. In order to accomplish this, the following criteria must be met:
- An accessible route with compliant slopes must be provided from the accessible electric vehicle charging station to the accessible building entrance;
- The parking space must comply with size and slope requirements for an accessible parking space:
- The vehicle space must be a minimum of 96 inches in width;
- An adjacent access aisle no less than 60 inches in width must be provided; and
- The ground surface slope of the vehicle space and access aisle cannot exceed 2% in any direction.
- The charging station cannot obstruct transfer into and out of vehicles. We highly recommend locating the station at the head of the access aisle, as shown in the adjacent image; and
- All operable parts of the charging station must be located below 48 inches AFF.
Applying these simple guidelines to vehicle charging stations will help make it possible for people of all abilities to drive the vehicle of their choice.
By Theresa D’Andrea, Accessibility Consultant