Originally posted on CleanTechnica
The first time I ever got an official driving lesson from a paid instructor, our training vehicle was a Plymouth Breeze, one of Chrysler’s infamously cheap “cloud cars” that had been further cheapened by five years of drivers-in-training. It doesn’t have to be that way though. A partnership between Daimler AG and ACADEMY driving schools has launched five pilot programs putting new drivers behind the wheel of electric cars.
This program aims to introduce young people to electric mobility and vehicles early in life, impressing upon them that while these are like conventional vehicles in many ways, there are important differences in the way EVs operate. One of the most noticeable differences is the regenerative braking systems that are standard on almost every plug-in car, replacing the need to use the brakes as much and also allowing drivers to recapture some extra driving range during their journey.
This new pilot program will go beyond regenerative braking. Driving instructors will impress upon teenagers the importance of charging regularly, managing range expectations, and being aware that the near-silent drivetrain of EVs means drivers must be extra careful of pedestrians. However, new drivers won’t have to deal with learning to drive a manual transmission, something many German driving schools still teach their students.
Five ACADEMY driving schools will get two Daimler EVs each, a Smart Fortwo Electric Drive and a Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric. Once passing the eDriverLicense course, new drivers can also start using Daimler’s car2go car-sharing service, though this new eMobility course complements, rather than replaces, the standard driving test. I’d also like to suggest adding more energy-saving driving techniques to the standard driving course while we’re at it.
If this driving course sounds a lot more intense than the one you and I took in America, that’s because Germany takes driving a lot more seriously. Besides all of the above, new drivers must attend an 8-hour first aid course, carry a first aid kit in their cars at all times, and they must pass several road tests on the high-speed Autobahn. What really convinced me that German drivers are better training is the video above showing how drivers respond to emergency vehicles trying to reach an accident through traffic.
Now they’re going to get better at driving electric vehicles too? Maybe we need to import some more of that German work ethic into our American driving schools…and a few more EVs while we’re at it.