Will We See Electric Cars Used On Driving Lessons?
The driving test was taken by a candidate using an electric powered vehicle recently. Rising cost of fuel is stimulating the sales of this type of vehicle. The danger with electric powered vehicles is their total lack of any warning sound so how will this effect it’s use in driver training?
Training new drivers in the different type of car will require a modified teaching strategy. As there is no sound that is normally associated with an internal combustion engine, pupils will lack a sense of feel for how the car is going to move off. Low speed acceleration is more immediate compared with the petrol driven engine and this will have to be taken into account. With a driving range of about 35 miles between recharging a purely electric powered vehicle would be of no use to instructors who will drive double that distance each day. Charging the battery takes time which should be spent giving lessons and training routes would have to be located nearby in a small area to avoid danger of power running out and becoming stranded.
The main drawback safety wise with the electric car is it’s complete lack of driving noise. People are being killed or injured when at pedestrian crossings from stepping out in front of the cars. A pedestrian will often hear a car before they see it with a late and cursory glance if nothing can be heard in advance. The cars are much quieter over the first five metres from a standing start than petrol driven engines, so driving in pedestrian heavy areas where traffic adopts a stop start pattern presents a particular problem. There is no longer a green cross code style road safety course to equip pedestrians to deal with this new danger so casualty numbers are set to rise. Cyclists have the same problem and the highway code recommends that cycles are fitted with an audible device such as a bell but this is strictly voluntary.
In terms of driver training in this type of car a number of issues must be considered. An electric vehicle does not have a traditional gearbox so there is no need for a clutch. Clutch control is one of the main elements of teaching people to drive which would disappear completelyScience Articles, cutting down on the number of lessons a pupil would need. It would make it easier for the pupil especially during hill starts and during low speed manoeuvres. Driving Instructors would also need to restructure hazard awareness training to place much more emphasis on pedestrians and especially those classed as vulnerable road users. Elderly people have slower reactions and need an earlier warning to stay safe. Those with disabilities involving restricted movement also rely heavily on hearing a vehicle approach. The greatest danger would be to the blind who may not have any warning at all of a vehicle approaching. Learner drivers would need to be taught to take this into account and expect the unexpected from pedestrians and vulnerable road users.