Accessible EVSE Guidelines Memo

This memo outlines design recommendations for accessible electric vehicle charging stations. Download the memo here or read the full text below.

The “Design Recommendations for Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging Stations” was created by U.S. Access Board, an independent federal agency, to issue accessibility guidelines under laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Architectural Barriers Act (ABA), and Rehabilitation Act of 1973. These recommendations are to accommodate drivers with limited accessibility (e.g., mobility, sensory, and/or auditory) as more EVs come online and as technology for charging equipment advances. The Guidelines differentiate charging spaces and parking spaces. This applies to all charging facilities that are owned/operated by federal, state, and local governments, as well as business and non-profit entities. Comments will be solicited later for the minimum number of accessible chargers per station.

Accessible mobility features include, but are not limited to:

  • A vehicle charging space at least 11 feet wide and 20 feet long,
  • Adjoining access aisle at least 5 feet wide,
  • Clear floor or ground space at the same level as the vehicle charging space and positioned for an unobstructed side reach (i.e., walkability),
  • Accessible operable parts, including on the charger and connector (e.g., charging cables, input controls and their formatting, display screen, card readers and contactless payment), and

Accessible communication features include, but are not limited to:

  • User interface includes the following hardware:

    • Display screens (avoids bright rapid flashing, visible from a point located 40 inches above floor/ground, at least one mode with text characters in sans serif font and adjustable text size, speech output enabled, etc.),
    • Input controls (keys have labels and visual controls with high contrast, QWERTY layout with alphabetical keypad, etc.),
    • Keys or cards with a tactically discernable swipe/tap orientation,
    • Audible signals or cues must not be the only single means of conveying information, indicating an action, or prompting response (e.g., audible warning tone paired with a visual indicator), and
    • Colored indicators need to be supplemented with other visual means of conveying information such as the use of position (different shapes, symbols, markings, etc.).

  • Station operators that provide customer service, help support, or other aspects to report outages, obstructed EV chargers, and other issues as well as is available with multilingual access.

With fleet charging, under the ABA, fleet EV charging stations at facilities designed, built, altered, or leased with federal funds for charging organizations’ vehicles must be accessible.

As for charging in residential facilities, any shared or common use EV chargers located at residential facilities provided by a state or local government must be accessible to the residents requiring reasonable accommodations. While chargers installed at privately-owned residential housing are not subject to the ADA, privately-owned multifamily housing may be subject to the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and may be required to be accessible.

Below are key considerations when adding EV chargers with accessible mobility features to existing parking facilities:

  • Can the chargers be connected by a compliant accessible route to the accessible entrance of the building or facility?
  • Is the slope and cross slope of the vehicle charging space less than 1:48? Can the floor or ground surface be altered to achieve slopes less than 1:48?
  • Is there sufficient space for an 11-foot-wide, 20-foot-long vehicle space and 5-foot-wide access aisle?
  • Can the chargers be placed at the same level as the vehicle charging space? Will existing curbs and landscaping need to be removed or altered to place chargers at the same level as the vehicle charging space?
  • Can a clear floor or ground space positioned for a parallel approach with an unobstructed side reach be provided?
  • Is the clear floor or ground space firm, stable, and slip resistant?
  • If EV chargers must be mounted on a curb, are operable parts of the chargers still within an unobstructed side reach and no farther than 10 inches and no higher than 48 inches above the clear floor or ground space?
  • What existing site constraints are there, and would locating chargers elsewhere on the site make them more accessible?

The Access Board will be issuing a Notice of Proposed Rule Making that will solicit comments from the public on the approach for the minimum number of accessible chargers per EV charging stations. For more information and technical assistance on ADA accessibility guidelines or on accessible design, please see the website.

Amy Malaki

Amy Malaki is the Director of Partnerships and Policy at SkyNRG and SkyNRG Americas, pioneering global leaders in sustainable aviation fuel production and supply. Prior to SkyNRG, Amy was the Associate Director for the transportation portfolio at the ClimateWorks Foundation where she developed philanthropic investment strategies to advance a sustainable, equitable and low-carbon mobility system. She also pioneered the organization’s international aviation decarbonization strategy. Prior to that she focused on Asia business development at Better Place, a Silicon Valley electric vehicle network startup. She has a B.A. in Chinese and China studies from the University of Washington and an M.A. in international policy studies (energy and environment) from Stanford University.