2012 Vauxhall AmperaEnlarge Photo
Navdeep Singh Pandher's driving test was a little different from that of most teens.
He had to drive to the same standards and still needed to check his mirrors before making a turn. Instead, the difference was with the car itself--Navdeep has become the first driver in the UK to pass his test in an electric vehicle.
As reported by the Hull Daily Mail, Navdeep took his test in a Vauxhall Ampera--the re-badged Chevrolet Volt sold in the UK.
Despite learning to drive in a manual-transmission, gasoline vehicle, driving school chain Red was looking for someone to learn in an electric car, and instructor Anthony Fuller chose Navdeep.
The 18-year old can now drive his ill mother's automatic (gasoline) vehicle, to help her get around as her condition worsens.
In the UK, passing a driving test in an automatic transmission means you can only legally drive an automatic vehicle afterwards. Navdeep intends to take another test at a later date so he's free to drive manual cars too.
Instructor Fuller describes the Ampera as "a lot different from a normal gasoline or diesel car...it is very smooth and quiet".
Navdeep isn't the first to pass his test in an electric car--Norwegian Solveig Marie Ødegård passed her test in a Nissan Leaf a few months back--but he's also unlikely to be the last.
While, in the UK at least, passing in an electric car will restrict their access to regular manual vehicles, increasing numbers of new drivers will have access to electric vehicles as sales increase.
For many teens, an electric car could be their first taste of cars in general. And if our experience is anything to go by, few may want to go back to gasoline or diesel vehicles afterwards...