RED Driving School is beginning the process of moving to electric having cemented its position as the UK’s largest driving school by hitting a record fleet size of more than 1,500 vehicles.

The news comes after similar taster moves by other UK driving schools.

With the government banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2025, the move will see the school move to be compliant in advance of the date.

Plugging into the future

The ambitious plans for an all-electric future also includes steps to reduce its overall carbon emissions.

The company says the move is not just about offering franchisees electric vehicles, it wants to set out a greener future by investigating all aspects of zero-emission driving. This includes home, kerbside and ‘on-the-go’ charging, as well as introducing green energy tariffs for instructors.

Leading by example

Seb Goldin, CEO of RED Driving School says that “because of the size of our fleet, and the way these cars are run, electrifying the fleet over the next few years is a hugely ambitious and complex undertaking.

“The needs of our instructors mean they require a supermini or small family car, and as most of our franchisees operate in metropolitan areas they require cars with a workable range in excess of 150 urban miles between charges.

RED analysis shows that the average age of the RED Driving School learner is around 25. Two-thirds of them will fund the purchase of their own vehicle within three months of passing their test and a significant number will opt for the car they learnt to drive in.

Driving with the handbrake on?

The move is a great example of how the industry is modernising and embracing environmental change. Unfortunately, the rules about manual and automatic driving tests are still inhibiting the process.  Electric vehicles predominantly have only one forward gear, in effect classing them as automatic transmission. Many other European countries already operate a testing regime that allow candidates to pass the test in an automatic and merely have a set lesson with a professional driver trainer to qualify them to drive manual vehicles too.

Despite calls for a change in the law in the UK over many years, it remains the case that we are operating what could be described as an out of date and prohibitive system in a changing environment.

Whilst young novice drivers naturally want to embrace EV technology, the costs can be prohibitive. This leads them to buying second hand manual cars, meaning that learning in an EV will fail to legally qualify them to drive vehicles they can afford.