Electric cars are so common nowadays as more and more people are switching to a more environmentally friendly choice to travel around their areas.
These vehicles are so quiet that you can barely hear them coming down the street and even imitate the noise of a child-friendly go-kart, segway, or golf cart.
These silent and toy-like electric cars beg the question, do you even need a driver’s license to be able to drive them?
This is a valid question, especially when you compare the fact that mobility scooters and electric golf carts do not require a valid US driver’s license to operate them.
We’ll answer this question and delve more into this article’s area.
Please bear in mind that all information below applies to North American electric vehicles and regulations, and the laws in your region may differ from what they are in North America.
Do you Need A Drivers License To Drive An Electric Car?
Yes, it is a definite requirement for you to hold a valid driver’s license to drive an electric car. Even though these cars are powered by electricity, you’ll still need an understanding of the roads and how to manage a car when you’re inside it.
You’ll need to know what the pedals do and how to use them, understand stop signs, drive on highways and freeways, and know how to park your electric vehicle when arriving at your destination.
EVs are still fast and dangerous like any other car, requiring a lot of training and understanding to manage, which calls for the necessary need for lessons and a test to obtain a valid license to prove this.
Many people presume that vehicles like Tesla have auto-pilot capabilities that can initiate a lane change and auto-steering functionality that will steer the car in the direction you want to go. And because of this, you won’t need a driver’s license as the vehicle is doing all the work.
This is entirely not true, as you’ll still need to be in complete control of the vehicle if something was to change, and if you don’t have a driver’s license, you’ll be unable to take control safely.
Are There Any Electric Vehicles You Can Drive Without A License?
In the US, there are currently no plans or developments for electric vehicles to be driven without a driver’s license. However, in Europe, Citroen is developing an EV called the Ami One Concept which is a two-seater vehicle that is only 8ft long and can only reach speeds of around 30mph.
The concept of this car is that it can be driven by anyone over the age of 16 regardless of if they have a driver’s license or not.
As for now, the main idea is that these cars will not be for sale straight away, but more so an on-demand service you can use whenever you want.
It seems like an ideal choice for teenagers who want to go to see their friends or go out on their own without having to ask for a lift from their parents.
It’ll cost around $0.33 per minute, and payment will be taken once the person driving parks the vehicle and completes the journey.
There are plans for these to be sold in the future, and they’ll cost just over $7,000. You’ll be able to pay one upfront fee, or you can pay half the amount upfront and then pay a monthly fee for another 2 years to cover the total cost.
However, as we said, this is only limited to Europe right now, and there don’t seem to be any imminent plans to move it across to the US.
Although, if you’re traveling from the US to Europe without a driver’s license when the Ami vehicles are available, you’ll be eligible to drive them.
There are similar vehicles like this in the US called NEVS (Neighborhood Electric Vehicles), which have a top speed of 25mph and can only be driven on roads with speed limits of 35mph. Unfortunately, the driver of these NEVs must have a license.
Can You Do Your Driver’s Test In An Electric Vehicle?
Yes, anyone is more than welcome to learn to drive and do lessons in an electric vehicle, and you can even go on to take your test in an electric car as well. So many people have done this and now drive a zero-emissions vehicle.
Once you get your full driver’s license, whether you learned to drive in a stick shift or automatic, you’ll be able to drive an EV once you’ve passed your test.
However, this will differ if you ever travel to different countries.
For example, in Great Britain, their licenses differentiate between automatic and manual licenses (a manual license is considered a full license) and sometimes may not allow you to hire a manual vehicle if your license doesn’t specify or you cannot prove that you have experience driving a stick shift.
Alternatively, it is not recommended for anyone who has only driven an EV or automatic vehicle to then drive a manual in a country that is not their own, as driving on different sides of the roads and understanding signs and directions could cause an accident.
Will Driving An Electric Vehicle Without A License Ever Be Possible?
It’s highly unlikely that people will be able to drive EVs without a license at any point in the near future, despite Elon Musk’s ambitious claims that Tesla will soon have full self-driving vehicles.
This is a contradiction from the Tesla brand as right now, they also give warnings about their autonomous driving features in their vehicles about how the driver must be alert and in full control of the car as the features are only for assistance.
However, many people have doubted Musk in the past, only for him to prove them wrong. So if anyone is likely to turn this into reality, it’ll be him.