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UK Teen Takes Driving Test--And Passes--In Electric Car

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2012 Vauxhall Ampera

2012 Vauxhall Ampera

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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...

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Comments (16)
  1. Shouldn't that be "UK Teen Takes Driving Test--And Passes--In Plug-in Hybrid"???
     
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  2. He did it in EV mode...

    In Volt/Ampera's EV mode, it is NO different than an EV.

    Plus, your Leaf or other so called EVs are really just a "Chemical Battery car".


    Please, let us NOT start another one of the long and hard discussion about Volt being an EV or NOT...

    If you call Honda Clarity a "fuel cell car", then you should call Tesla and Leaf "Battery car" or "Chemical battery" car...

    EV is a too "generic" term for today's technology.
     
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  3. Electric cars don't have electric mode, because they're just electric. I never said EV.
     
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  4. Volt is driven by a main traction motor and powered by a battery. Same as the Leaf.

    Calling Volt a "gas" car is no different than calling Leaf a "coal" or "solar" car...

    Volts are just electric until it runs out of charge. Same as Leaf or any other electric car. Volts needs gas once it is out of battery charge. Leaf needs it too when it runs out of charge and getting towed by a gas/diesel truck.
     
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  5. I didn't call it a "gas" car I said "plug-in hybrid". The Leaf is not a "coal" car it is an electric car. The source of the Leaf's electricity is a separate problem, the Volt can directly produce carbon emissions because it's a plug-in hybrid. Yes it can be used like an electric car, but true electric cars don't have an ICE under the hood, a gas tank, and they certainly don't have exhaust pipes. And I am well aware that most electricity isn't produced cleanly but that is a separate issue that has needed addressing for quite some time, long before the Leaf ever existed. Electric cars are a way for the automobile to go green, how electricity goes green on a global scale is a problem electricity companies will have to figure out.
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  6. @CDspeed, okay maybe I was being extra sensitive. But I have seen enough "attacks" from the "PURE" EV group that I feel it is silly.

    Let us look from a bigger engineering picture. Both Leaf and Volt are electric driven. The major difference is that Leaf has a larger battery and Volt has a generator onboard. That is what the "extender" is all about.

    Are you going to call Leaf a "plug-in hybrid" if someone strap a generator onboard the Leaf? No. It is still an EV even though there is a generator to supplement the source of electricity.

    Also feel free to call the Leaf a "solar car" or "hydro car" if you don't like "coal car". But my point is that "main power train" determins the car, not the source of energy.
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  7. If the Leaf had a generator that would mean it uses gas, so yes then I would consider it a plug-in hybrid. The Volt uses gas and electric which makes it a hybrid. But I'm not a Volt bashing, I think it is an amazing car. And yes it is more electric then gas, all I've been saying is a car that stores and burns gas isn't entirely electric enough to be call an electric car.
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  8. If you want to be THAT nit-picky (why?), it should be "...in Extended Range EV" Using your proclaimed attention to detail you should know the difference.
     
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  9. I would prefer EREV over Plugin Hybrid...

    So far, none of the plugin Hybrid even come close to the EREV's electric behavoir...


    EREV is EV first, extended range second. Plugin hybrid is hybrid first and plugin part being "supplemental"....
     
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  10. @Li: What you like to ignore is in extended mode above 70 mph the gas engine is connected to the wheels. So calling the Volt an EV with a generator is kind of disingenuous.
     
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  11. Didn't I say Volt is EV first and then hybrid second? There are NO otehr plugin hybrids act even close to the Volt's "all electric" behavior in its battery range.

    In the "extended" mode, Volt is a hybrid, whether it is series or parallel, speeds/efficiency point sets the difference.

    That is EREV is a better term to describe it than "plug in hybrid" especially with all the "weak" plugin hybrid coming out.


    Maybe we should seperate those so called "plugins" into two groups...

    "Full Electric" Plugin Hybrids and "mild" Plugin Hybrids.
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  12. Would love to see my daughter learn to drive and take her test in our Volt in 2 years.
     
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  13. Do you have the "backup camera" option?

    I wonder how the "driving test" would change with that. Also, things such as Park Assist, self-park...etc.

    Some of those features will be required on newer cars.
     
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  14. It is good to hear about electric vehicles in a positive report like this. My son learned to drive and passed his drivers test in an EV, a 1999 Ford Ranger Electric. The examiner did not realize it until asking that he "start the car now" and my son replied "it's electric. It's already on". That was in 2010. I hope many more young drivers begin their driving experience with an EV and avoid our historic oil dependency.
     
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  15. Great story Steve, good to see more and more are passing in electric vehicles.
     
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  16. HEY! WAIT A MINUTE!!!! On June 6, 2012 I passed my driving test (100%) in Washington with a 2012 Mitsubishi iMiev!! Do I get an article too?? come on! haha
     
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