Perhaps with the widespread use of electric cars you have wondered why these models are not adopted by driving schools. The explanation lies in code 78 since battery-powered vehicles do not have a gearbox, and the same applies to vehicles with automatic gearboxes. However, it would also be important to train the motorist in the use of BEV vehicles, giving notions to get to grips with sockets and charging infrastructures.

The problem with code 78

On many driving licenses today, we find the code 78 (automatic transmission) which suggests the inability to drive with a manual transmission. For example, whoever takes a driving license B has a vehicle with a manual gearbox, and then the B96 with an automatic gearbox does not carry the code 78. In particular, according to point 5.1.3. of Annex II of Legislative Decree 59/2011: “There are no restrictions for vehicles with automatic transmission on the license for a vehicle of the category C, CE, D or DE referred to in point 5.1.2, when the candidate already holds a driving license obtained on a vehicle with a manual gearbox in at least one of the following categories: B, BE, C, CE, C1, C1E, D, D1 or D1E, and has performed the maneuvers described in point 8.4 (safe and energy-saving driving) during proof of ability and behavior.

Furthermore, from 1 July 2015, every driving school must equip themselves with vehicles of categories AM, A1, A2, A, B, C, CE, D, DE.

Nissan and Stellantis driving school models

The difference between electric car driving and traditional car driving is present, and today driving schools have contacted the manufacturers to also equip themselves with BEV vehicles. In particular, with Nissan training masters are organized on the Leaf model, and Stellantis training courses are studied for driving schools and instructors to cope with the new and growing hybrid and electric market.

In detail, the staff of the driving schools must follow refresher courses every two years to understand how the driving of electric vehicles works also in view of the sustainable and ecological transition path that will accompany us from 2030 to 2050. For this reason, every driving school is reselling the routes training courses and also introducing micromobility courses, dictated by the difficult management of scooters in traffic. We think of the sharing of spaces with larger vehicles, of the turning point and inclusion in urban traffic.

Electric cars and driving school: the problem of autonomy

When the customer arrives at the driving school, his main problem is to run out of oil and the instructor’s task is to educate him about electricity and sustainability to understand how the electric car is perfectly compatible with daily mobility needs.

The fear to get stranded is unfounded, given that the distances traveled every day are compatible with the use of electricity, and charging stations are increasingly widespread.

BEV maintenance and safety

Among the needs of the driving school, there is also that of knowing more about the maintenance and safety of BEVs, in particular as it happens for the traditional car it is important to know how the electric motor works. It is about adopting safety criteria and learning as much as possible about vehicle maintenance starting from the fact that the orange cables should not be touched and that changing the battery is not like changing the oil on a traditional vehicle. These are operations to be entrusted to the competent mechanic and remember that there are specific courses to drive the electric car, given the differences starting from braking.

At this point, all that remains is to wait for the first electric car models to appear in driving schools and for the 78 code to disappear to train a new generation of users, capable of safely driving an electric vehicle and attentive to sustainability.