The ‘green agenda’ is radically influencing driving attitudes of young people aged 17-24.

This is the conclusion based on the results of a new survey by IAM RoadSmart. One surprising consequence is that young people are looking to learn to drive in an automatic rather than manual gearbox car.

Switched on

The ban of new petrol and diesel vehicle sales from 2030 has certainly boosted the change to electric vehicles (EVs). It is the absence of manual gearboxes in EVs that has prompted 61% of the 1,000 young drivers surveyed to tell IAM RoadSmart that they plan to apply for an automatic-only driving licence.

The green agenda is also translating into expected buying behaviours. Of the respondents, 81% state they are likely to purchase an electric vehicle as their next car.  Only a very small number (5%) declared they were very unlikely to purchase an electric vehicle.

Interestingly, the survey also revealed more about the prospective purchasing style. 51% 0f younger drivers say that when it comes to buying a new car, they will save the money and pay upfront. Only 17% state they would use car finance, with just 10% in favour of getting a bank loan.

Manual labour

“Our research highlights how young people are being proactive, not reactive to climate issues and the changes to the automotive industry set to come by 2030, which is great to see.”

Neil Greig, Director of Policy and Research at IAM RoadSmart believes that “the traditional split between manual and automatic driving licences is becoming less and less relevant to modern motoring”.

He is calling for what he describes as the “artificial distinction” to be ditched when it comes to driving tests. Instead there needs to be  “an overall review of learning to drive that prioritises experience in all traffic conditions over the type of gearbox you have”.

Up to speed

At present, learners need to be fully aware of the current regulations and realities. Manual driving licences continue to provide many more work opportunities and also allow the driver to utilise automatic transmission vehicles.

Many European countries only require a lesson from a professional driver trainer in a manual to ensure drivers can utilise manual gearbox vehicles. They are not required to take a test to convert.

As more petrol and diesel vehicles utilise auto boxes, as well as EVs, there have been a number of calls for driver licensing to better recognise the changing times.

Plugging in

The survey reveals that the acceptance of electric vehicles is charging ahead. So much so that 70% of young people believed that EVs are simpler to charge, compared to filling a traditional fuel tank. They cite similarities to charging a smart phone or tablet as well as safety concerns of liquid fuels.

You can read more about the survey here.