Nissan LEAF: First Electric Driving School Car In the U.K.

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The 2013 Nissan LEAF electric car

Nissan’s all-electric LEAF, pictured here in front of the Nissan Entrance at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, apparently won over a U.K. driving instructor recently and became the first electric driving school car in use there. (Photo courtesy Nissan North America.)

A longtime driving instructor in the United Kingdom, where licensing laws and training requirements are far more stringent than most Americans may realize, has decided the Nissan LEAF is the perfect car for teaching folks how to drive.

According to this story, Paul Tomlin, of Ask Driving School in Stoke-on-Trent, England said the choice of the LEAF would result in an estimated fuel savings of £2,800 (about $4,385 USD) while cutting down on emissions and providing learners with a smoother learning experience. In fact, he said, the car has come in for praise from students, according to the article:

The dual-controlled LEAF has been a hit with pupils who have praised how easy it is to drive and how smooth and effortless the driving experience is. With no gear changes to worry about, the LEAF is effortless to drive.

The article said one of Tomlin’s students had failed her practical driving test twice before coming to Tomlin for further instruction in the LEAF. That student reportedly passed her practical test with no minor violations in the LEAF, and cited the car’s ability to “keep her nerves calm,” the article said.

For his part, Tomlin said other driving instructors seem impressed with the LEAF as a yeoman trainer. Again quoting directly from the article:

“Since I took delivery of the Nissan LEAF, there has been lots of interest from my fellow instructors, and it’s easy to see why. The pupils love the car and the immediate success they have had underlines what an easy car the LEAF is to drive. For me personally I’m happy to now avoid the petrol stations and I feel happier for the environment by driving a zero emissions vehicle.”

By this point, you’re probably thinking what we were thinking when we heard about the LEAF being used as a trainer car: Range anxiety much? Turns out Tomlin has plenty of juice, according to the article. Plugging in at a quick-charger during a midday lunch break gives him enough battery to make it through several exercises in the morning hours, then to a couple more exercises in the afternoon before calling it a day, the article said.

Reportedly, Tomlin expects to cover about 25,000 miles annually in the LEAF, with plans to replace it with another LEAF at the two year/50,000-mile mark.

Question: Would you put your child into an EV like the LEAF to learn how to drive? Sound off in the comments.

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