News : Vauxhall posts first electric driving test pass

red driving school shoot (1)

The UK’s first learner driver to complete the practical driving test in an electric vehicle has passed first time, driving a Vauxhall Ampera. Navdeep Singh, 18, from Hull, successfully drove the extended-range electric vehicle and passed the test. He learned to drive the award-winning Ampera with RED Driving School..

RED has recently agreed a fleet deal with the manufacturer to lease 1000 Vauxhall cars a year. In addition to the Ampera, Vauxhall also supplies RED Driving School with the Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 CDTi ecoflex. Both instructors and learner drivers at the school are eligible for Vauxhall’s Partners Programme.

With a network of more than 1600 franchised instructors throughout the country, RED is the UK’s leading driving school, helping thousands of British youngsters to learn to drive each year. Its philosophy is to use all available technology to teach people to pass their test and to help them be safe drivers beyond the test and are proud that one of their pupils was the first to pass an ‘electric’ driving test in the UK.

‘We’’re thrilled to have taught the country’s first learner driver to pass the practical driving test in an electric vehicle,’ said Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School. ‘We think it’s important to get young people to experience the latest vehicle technologies. The Ampera is a leading edge car and reflects the dynamic nature of RED Driving School. As well as being easy to drive, the Ampera offers great efficiency and good all round performance.’

Keith Adams


  1. Well done Navdeep.

    Does the learner driver get a full UK licence or is there an Electric Vehicle licence now? Presumably someone who passes the test in an electric vehicle won’t know about clutch control etc? I assume there’s still a distinction between Auto-only licences and full licences?

  2. If it’s not got a clutch, he will only have an automatic licence, and have to take his test again to drive a “real” car !!!

  3. If it aint got a clutch pedal, he will have a ‘Teflon’ licence plain & simple. I passed my PCV in a semi auto, but that only gives me ‘automatic’. He will have to take another test to drive a manual car, so unless he has a disability, he’s just burnt a shedload of cash.

  4. Hardly representative of suitable cars for a new driver.

    Twenty years ago driving schools sensibly ran cars that learners could buy after passing their test.
    Red should be using a corsa.

  5. @6, Darren,

    Agree. My driving instructor wouldn’t buy a diesel, because he said that diesels are harder to stall (although not the case in a Transit 115 diesel, I find…).

    So, it was a boggo Metro 1.0 City, followed by a Fiesta Mk3 1.1. No ABS, no power steering, no ‘park assist’, and a basic 4 speed gearbox. Set me up just fine for driving a series of bangers (FSO Polonez, Escort Mk3 1.3 CVH, etc), before I could afford anything half decent.

  6. Still, nice to see driving lessons being taken in a reasonably sized car rather than some tiny tin box like a Picanto.

    The only other people using a decent sized car as a learner vehicle that I have seen were the AA with the Focus. I know that most new drivers won’t be able to insure anything bigger than a Fiesta when they pass at 17, but after a couple of years they tend to “graduate” to larger cars and because they’ve only ever driven small cars they have no sense of spacial awareness. It just seems daft to me.

  7. I think your right Doug but I don’t think it’s ever been any different. I passed my first test in a Heinkel bubble car but was driving a 3.3 PC Cresta 3 years later!
    Unless we have silver spoon syndrome most of us simply can’t afford the bigger stuff when we are very young.
    One does wonder what experience of driving is gained in a modern tiny car – that virtually thinks for you and is so ‘controlled’.

  8. How many young drivers wear a tie and trainers!! He should have done his test in a 25!! its a big car to learn in. Navdeep Singh well done for being the first.

    See you on the road.

    berny 216sli

  9. Presumably he will get an automatic only licence. Nothing wrong with that. Plenty of people want to be able to get from A to B in a car without having to change gear. According to the motoring press manual boxes and clutch pedals will have vanished within the next 10-15 years anyway.

  10. I passed my test in a 1.0 metro.. 3 weeks later I was driveing a 4.7 litre Maserati.. dad had a few too many at the pub..

  11. Shirt and tie, and trainers though. He looks a pudding. I do think though, that many new drivers today pass their test in cars with all the parking aids and ABS/traction control etc, then can only afford a few hundred quid banger, that won’t even have power steering, and they then struggle, and often have whoopses, because the car handles totally different to what they passed in. I must admit, I went from a 16v 1.4 Sunny Learner car, to a rusty MG Metro, and boy was it a culture shock

  12. “That won’t even have power steering”? Christ, what decade are you living in? Most “old bangers” will have PAS, can’t imagine there will be many cars around that will be realistic first cars built in the last 15 years without it. The last car I drove without PAS was a Ford Ka on an R plate tat I had while my car had a new door fitted. It needed power steering as you needed to be like Charles Atlas to turn the wheel in the bloody thing. I learned to drive in a Peugeot 205 diesel (non turbo), the Nova I had as a first car was a dream to park in comparison (both cars had manual steering, but the Pug was a bloody animal!)

  13. My Mum’s 1995 Fiesta had no PAS & that was a pain to get into tight spaces.

    I don’t know how my Mum & sister ever coped with it.

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