Wheelchair-accessible electric vehicles are inbound with Motability Operations and CALLUM’s eVITA project

  • Motability Operations and CALLUM team up for eVITA, an electric wheelchair-accessible vehicle concept.
  • eVITA caters to wheelchair users’ needs with inclusive design and revolutionary features.
  • The partnership underscores industry collaboration’s significance in driving inclusivity and innovation.

Motability Operations and CALLUM join forces to make a wheelchair-accessible electric vehicle

Motability Operations and CALLUM have teamed up to introduce eVITA, an wheelchair-accessible electric vehicle (eWAV) concept. It’s propelling inclusivity within the automotive realm. This collaboration addresses the needs of wheelchair users amid the EV transition. 

Motability Operations spearheads the life-changing Motability Scheme for disabled people across the UK. It has identified a potential gap affecting over 34,000 users of wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs). Without industry intervention, these users risk being sidelined as the world shifts towards EVs.

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Andrew Miller, Chief Executive of Motability Operations, commented:

“The transition to electric simply won’t work unless it’s accessible for all.

We have the largest fleet in the UK and three-quarters of a million disabled customers who rely on their vehicles for their independence. Our customers aren’t the typical early EV adopters, they’re more representative of the wider population, and we know from first-hand insight what the challenges of having an EV will be for everyone. Without solutions and an equitable switch to electric, thousands of people could be left behind.”

eVITA embodies inclusive design principles, crafted with insights from actual customers and wheelchair users. Its groundbreaking features include a revamped EV battery to facilitate wheelchair access. Also, an automated ramp for seamless entry, and a versatile interior offers adaptable seating and storage solutions.

One of the pivotal challenges tackled by eVITA is the relocation of the battery to create a level floor between the vehicle tailgate and front row. This enhances accessibility and interior spaciousness. The redesign not only enhances the travel experience but also contributes to better ride quality and manoeuvrability.

Ian Callum, Design Director at CALLUM, stated:

“Today, electric vehicles are not offering the functionality and flexibility required by WAV users. OEMs, their designers and engineers must plan ahead and embrace inclusive design principles to ensure that WAV users and disabled people are not forgotten in the transition to EVs. With eVITA, form and functionality have been developed in parallel, resulting in a well-considered, user-friendly EV that is both practical and stylish.”

The partnership between Motability Operations and CALLUM underscores the significance of collaboration in propelling inclusivity and innovation in the automotive sector. By pooling their expertise and resources, both entities are setting a new benchmark for accessible EVs.

The involvement of industry giants like Stellantis further emphasises the imperative of collective action in ensuring a smooth EV transition for wheelchair users. Through initiatives such as eVITA, the emobility industry will be open to everyone. After all, if EVs don’t work for everyone, then the transition will never be truly successful.

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