Back in the day when I attended driving school to learn the basics so I could get my drivers license, I drove some random older car that was bare basics and boring. Fast forward to today though and the advent of green car technology makes it more interesting for those wanting to learn from the get go driving a hybrid or electric car. One 18-year-old in the United Kingdom is now said to have the distinction of being the first in that island nation to pass his “practical driving test” in an electric car.
RED Driving School said Navdeep Singh recently learned his driving skills through operating a Vauxhall Ampera, which we better know here in the United States as a Chevy Volt. Singh, who the Hull Daily Mail reports is a a computer science student at the University of Hull, learned how to drive primarily so he could transport his mom around in her car. She is unable to do so herself because of health conditions.
Singh apparently had been learning how to drive in a manual car at first, but jumped “at the chance to be the first in the UK to pass his test in an electric.” He still plans to go back and do a manual driving test as well, as UK rules require him to do so since the Amerpa is considered an automatic.
Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School, told the UK Press Association that “ We are offering electric car driving lessons as part of an ongoing innovation process of responding to the changing driving industry, establishing what is possible for the future and assessing demand for different car types. As electric car use grows in popularity, we expect that electric car tuition will increase over the coming months and years.”
Singh, while being the first in the United Kingdom to pass his driving test in an electric car (technically, a plug-in hybrid), he isn’t the first in the world. One other, reports Green Car Reports, for example is Norwegian Solveig Marie Ødegård, who passed her test in a Nissan Leaf a few months back.
The Ampera, like the Volt, combines battery power, electric motor and a gas fueled generator unit to help extend driving range. It is powered specifically by a 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack feeding a 150PS electric drive unit, and can go between 25-50 miles of battery-powered zero-emission driving on a single charge. After this its range extender, a small 1.4-litre petrol-fuelled engine/generator, kicks in to help boost the car’s range by up to 310 miles.