Electric cars in driving schools: driving test with e-car is possible

With the change in the driving test in force since the beginning of April 2021, it will be easier for driving schools to switch to electric cars. Because it’s not just for short-term, environmental reasons that e-cars make sense in driving schools, but also in the longer term. Those who already learn to drive in an electric car are more likely to buy one later on.

If you are already sure that it should definitely be an e-car, then we have compiled the top 5 electric cars for you:

Top 5 e-cars
Model Offers from
Skoda Enyaq iV 22.596 € Compare offers
Opel Corsa-e 17.987 € Compare offers
VW ID.3 21.925 € Compare offers
Renault Zoe 17.681 € Compare offers
Fiat 500 Electric 19.549 € Compare offers

New automatic driving license: extension to manual car possible

Until now, anyone who completed their driving lessons and driving test in a car with an automatic transmission would get an entry in their driver’s license. The key number 78 ensured that only driving automatic cars was allowed. Since the 1. April 2021 there is an extension of this scheme, which brings many advantages.

Those who decide to continue driving only automatic vehicles will take their test in an automatic car, as before. This means that the restriction is entered in the driver’s license with the key number 78 as before. What’s new now is that you can either have it integrated into your training right away or, after passing your driving test, you can qualify to drive a manual car.

Those who want to do so must go through the following extension in addition to the normal basic training:

  • 10 extra driving hours in a car with manual transmission
  • 15 minutes test drive in manual car with driving instructor (no test)

What is included in the test drive?

The examinees must prove that they can drive a manual car safely and responsibly. In practice, this includes starting uphill, shifting gears in an environmentally friendly manner, making proper turns and observing right-of-way rules. This test drive only takes place with the driving instructor, who must then certify that the requirements for driving a car with manual transmission are met. A test is not taken here.

In plain language, this means that anyone who previously had a purely automatic driver’s license can now go through this extension in a driving school. If the test drive is successful, the key number B197 is entered, which entitles the driver to drive a manual car.

For novice drivers, this combined training also makes a lot of sense, because if you feel overwhelmed at first, you can simply take the automatic driver’s license first and then go through the additional training later without any problems. This leads to less stress and all options are still open.

Clear the way for the e-car

This change to the driver’s license has already been under discussion since the end of 2019 and was also approved by the EU Commission at the time. However, it was not until the end of 2020 that the Bundesrat (upper house of the German parliament) approved the draft law. The introduction of this new form of driver’s license certainly has to do with the strong trend toward electrified cars.

The body of an electric car or plug-in hybrid does not provide for a manual transmission, all e-cars are equipped with automatic transmissions. So if young people are interested in e-cars, up to now they have either had to take the normal driver’s license and learn to shift gears for free, so to speak – or the automatic driver’s license without the option of being able to drive a manual car.

Anyone who wants to buy their own car after passing their driving test can now easily buy an e-car and benefit from the environmental bonus, while at the same time driving around in their grandparents’ old manual – a win-win situation!

E-cars in driving schools – still not very common

The extension of the driving license should of course also help more and more driving schools to decide to use electric vehicles as driving school cars. Driving students are often very fond of electric cars, but only a few driving schools in Germany offer an electric car as a training vehicle. Together with the new driving license regulations and the high premiums for electric and plug-in hybrid cars, however, this number is now likely to increase.

Driving schools that already provide an electric car for novice drivers often report that their students are so enthusiastic about driving an electric car that they want to buy an electrified vehicle later on.

It is precisely the young generation that will decide in the future whether electric cars will replace combustion engines on the roads. Driving schools can therefore contribute to the formation of opinion. In addition, there are also electric cars that are well suited as a beginner’s car for young people, because they are cheap to insure and easy to drive.

Is the manual transmission dying out?

In the driving school, gear shifting is certainly associated with fears and hurdles for most students at the beginning, many do not really warm up to gear shifting their whole life long. In addition, the manual transmission is a wearing part, and a very expensive one at that. If you’re not careful when shifting gears, you’ll eventually end up with transmission damage that can cost well over 1.000 euros. The development and production of manual transmissions is also complex and expensive.

This brings together some of the disadvantages that a manual transmission brings – and another argument is: the future is electric and an e-car does not have a manual transmission.

Accordingly, it looks like sooner or later cars with manual transmission will die out. Some manufacturers, above all Mercedes, have already switched to automatic transmission. This is because almost 90 percent of all Mercedes models sold are ordered with automatic transmission.

Therefore, the change was only a reaction to customer needs. With the new model generations, the switches will then disappear completely from the Mercedes range.

New registrations also confirm the trend: more than half of newly registered cars in 2020 were automatics.

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