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Putting electric vehicles to the test: The 6 main differences about learning to drive in an EV

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With more electric vehicles on the road than ever before, how are driving tests changing as we make the switch to EVs?

As we slowly approach the Government’s 2050 net-zero emissions target, all new cars from 2030 will have to be electric. This is clearly reflected in people’s interest in new cars, with carwow data revealing that EV enquiries are up 89% compared to this time last year, but what does the change in attitude mean for learners? 

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Carwow teamed up with RED driving school (the first UK driving school to have a learner pass their driving test in an electric vehicle) to find out what’s different about learning to drive in an EV, compared to the traditional petrol and diesel driving experience. 

The 6 main differences when learning to drive in an EV 

1. Differences in acceleration – while having no clutch makes electric cars simpler to drive than most, it is still a skill to learn how to accelerate and brake appropriately using an electric car’s regenerative braking.

2. Charging techniques – Ensuring that newly passed drivers understand how to use their electric car will become a key part of the driving course, to highlight the importance of planning journeys, know where nearby charge points are located and how far cars can go on one charge.

3. Economic use of battery power – Learners will need to demonstrate their ability to observe and anticipate battery usage.

4. Awareness of other road users – Pedestrians often use sound to indicate when a vehicle is approaching. Because EVs are much quieter than petrol- and diesel-powered cars, drivers should be mindful and exercise even greater awareness of pedestrians and cyclists.

5. Battery Range – As learning in an EV becomes more common, the driving test may evolve further with examiners checking to ensure that the driver can use the techniques needed to maximise the range of the vehicle. carwow has built an EV range calculator to help drivers choose the EV with the right range for them. 

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6.Show me, tell me – there will be changes to the ‘show me, tell me’ section of the driving test, which aims to assess a driver’s knowledge of general maintenance and day-to-day running of their car. Examples of this could be asking candidates to show how to use an EV charge point or show awareness of available charge points in areas they are traveling to. 

Seb Goldin, CEO of RED driving school told us – “The growing demand for electric vehicles can be explained by the Government net zero targets as we approach the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars, as well as the younger generation’s passion towards tackling climate change.  This is being reflected in the cars they drive. RED data showed that 68% of survey respondents expressed concern about climate change as well as 90% of survey respondents believed they would own an EV in the next 10 years.

“Driving tests in electric cars currently follow the same rules as tests for cars with an automatic gearbox. This means that if you pass your test in an electric car, your license only covers you to drive automatic cars, not manual.”

“It is likely that when taking a test in an electric car, most of the elements of an automatic car test will remain. There could, however, be some changes to the ‘show me, tell me’ section of the test, which aims to assess a driver’s knowledge of general maintenance and day-to-day running of their car. Examples of this could be asking candidates to show how to use an EV charge point or show awareness of available charge points in areas they are traveling to”

“Instructors who have a private driveway are in a great position to purchase an electric vehicle if they are able to easily charge their car at home. However, a recent survey conducted at RED shows that 26% of instructors don’t have their own driveway or access to private overnight charging. With driving all day being part of the job, relying on public chargers can be daunting for instructors.”

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Learning to drive and buying your first vehicle can be an exciting but nerve-racking  time, especially with the world moving into new territory as the production of petrol and diesel cars ends, and to help with this carwow have listed the top 5 best EVs for new drivers in their useful ‘electric car driving test’ page. 

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Education

“Stuck in a catch-22”: parents drive their children to school because they are concerned about traffic

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New polling data released for Living Streets’ Walk to School Week (16-20 May 2022) finds that traffic is one of the biggest barriers to children walking to school, with 17 per cent of parents in Wales naming it as a reason their child doesn’t walk.

With over 460,000 pupils in Wales, it would mean tens of thousands of them are being denied the physical and social health benefits of being more active.

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Schools being too far away from home (18%) and cars parked on pavements (17%) were also barriers for Welsh parents.

The latest data suggests just 50 per cent of primary school aged children in Wales walk to school.

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said: “We’re stuck in a catch-22 where families see driving to school as the safest way to protect their children from traffic.

“Leaving the car at home will reduce chaos and road danger around the school gates. It’s also a great way for children to learn about road safety in a real life setting and build their confidence in managing risk.

“Walk to School Week is an excellent opportunity for families to give walking to school a go and reap the health and social benefits of moving more.”

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Living Streets works with schools, local authorities and parent groups to help improve the walk to school.

Stephen Edwards continues: “We want to enable as well as encourage more families to walk to school. We’re here to help parents who are worried about safety around their child’s school. Car-free zones, 20mph limits and better crossings can all help make the walk to school safer and we’re here to help people campaign for them in their area.”

For more information on Living Streets’ walk to school campaign, visit livingstreets.org.uk/WalkToSchool

(Lead image: Shutterstock)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Motoring

Revealed: Swansea is one of the UK’s worst cities for road rage – although not as bad as Cardiff

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Swansea has been revealed as the 9th worst place in England and Wales for road rage according to new research.

The city saw 51 instances of recorded road rage in the last year.

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The Road Rage Index, was compiled by specialist car group Motorfinity, which sent Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the country.

Drivers in Swansea also had 15 cases of dangerous driving.

Cardiff topped the list, with 301 instances of drivers ranting at other road users in the city, followed by Leicester at 291.

A combined figure of 240 incidents puts Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton in third place.

Meanwhile, both Lancaster and Preston had 191 reports of road rage between them that attracted the attention of police, while Leeds had 108.

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Police forces for Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, and Lancaster and Preston were only able to provide the data when grouped with the other cities.

With 32 million motorists vying for space on British roads, it’s little surprise that things get heated. In fact, it’s claimed that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to sometimes suffering from road rage whilst they’re driving.

Top 10 cities with the most road rage incidents

CityRoad rage incidents in 2021
1Cardiff301
2Leicester291
3Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)240
4Lancaster and Preston (combined)191
5Leeds108
6Sheffield79
7Bradford68
8Derby51
9Swansea51
10Hull49

As part of the research, Motorfinity also asked police forces for the number of counts of dangerous driving incidents, of which the city of Oxford came first with 480 counts, followed by 363 for Bradford.

Top five cities with the most dangerous driving incidents

CityDangerous driving incidents in 2021
1Oxford480
2Bradford363
3Leeds321
4Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)178
5Newport121

Motorfinity CEO Daniel Briggs believes that, although all the top 10 cities in the list are very busy urban areas, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more motorists means more anger.

He said: “The fact that the top few cities have so many more incidents than others suggests that drivers there may unknowingly copy each other’s bad behaviour. These results show that there are some clear hotspots when it comes to angry or impatient drivers.

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“It’s never ideal to be on the receiving end of road rage, but it’s also pretty unpleasant to be a regularly angry driver. Motoring should be an enjoyable experience, or at least one that people don’t dread.

“Given that road rage is generally considered commonplace, it’s likely that someone experiencing it has also been on the receiving end of another driver’s anger at some point. So, it’s worth remembering that a car door probably doesn’t insulate your emotions as much as you first think.”

It has been previously said that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to regularly being angry at other motorists while they’re driving.

(Lead image: iStock)

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