Nissan Leaf Joins Drivers’ Ed, Passes No-Gas Student

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Do you remember learning to drive?

The chances are, like us, you learned to drive in a gasoline car, even if you drive an electric car today.

Last month however, Norwegian Solveig Marie Ødegård became the first person in the world to learn to drive and pass her test in an all-electric car, the 2012 Nissan Leaf.

Unlike the daughter of contributor Michael Thwaite, who made a few tentative attempts in a Honda Insight before switching to an all-electric car, Ødegård has never driven a gasoline car in her life.

“First I looked at this as a duty, since someone in this family needed to be able to drive,” said Ødegård, already pregnant with her second child. “However, from the first moment I got into the car I discovered that this was incredibly fun,” she continued. 

In order to pass her test, Ødegård had to endure one of the strictest drivers’ education program in the world. 

Norway's Driving School Leaf

Norway's Driving School Leaf

Enlarge Photo

As well as learning how to control the car under normal conditions,  students must learn first aid, drive safely on an ice track, and even take day-long trips to prove they have the skills required to drive along Norway’s many miles of remote, snow-covered winter roads. 

Thanks to a program designed to encourage people to drive electric cars, ABC Trafikkskole, where Ødegård had her tuition, is one of the first driving schools in the world where students can choose to learn in an electric car. 

The addition of an electric car to the tuition fleet, says ABC Trafikkskole, CEO Lis Skauge, is the best thing she’s done as a driving tutor.

With some of the best incentives in the world for electric car drivers, including free parking, zero purchase tax and use of bus lanes nationwide, it’s no surprise that Norway has a driving school with a Nissan Leaf in its fleet. 

As President of Norway’s EV Union, Rune Haaland explains, driving a gasoline car after learning to drive in an electric car seems just old-fashioned. 

“When your first car is electric you become free of any culturally [sic] misconceptions of what a car should be,” he said. “You become an EV native and Solveig is the first of thousands to come.”

Do you think electric cars will become part of future drivers’ ed programs? 

Should students be taught to drive in electric cars instead of gasoline ones? 

Let us know in the Comments below.


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