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Discussion Starter #1
Hello from Cambridge! I'm new to the forum, but had a Leaf for 28 months, since it appeared on the Motability list.

My son wants to learn to drive the Leaf, but there are no driving schools around here with an EV. So what kind of car is closest to a Leaf for this? When I first drove it, I found it very different to a manual transmission. It was really hard not to put the parking brake on my mistake, because it's right where the clutch would be. But maybe an automatic is more like a Leaf?

Peter.
 

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Has he passed his test ? If he has just take him to an industrial estate or old airfield until he gets used to it. If he hasn't I would get him to pass in a manual car. He can then drive manual or automatic.

Richard
 

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No, these would be his first lessons. The trouble with learning on a manual is that there are so many habits that immediately need to be unlearnt. Also I don't think he's ever going to drive a petrol car!

Peter.
 

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Hi Peter then any automatic should do for him. There is always some quirks to learn in every car. Even the Leaf I managed to "stall" :eek: I put my foot on the parking brake just like a clutch ! Having just got the I3 REX I am just getting used to the quite aggressive regen when the accelerator is backed off. It is good though as the car will come to a stop with no feet on the pedals. I always think there are two main things to learn one is the highway code and driving with other cars about the other is the physical control of the car. The physical control can be learnt off road or large supermarket carparks when closed and quite. The large supermarket I used for my children to learn thre physical side always had a couple of learners in on sundays (when they were closed). Trouble in the Leaf there is no hanbrake to use in an emergency.

Richard
 

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Any old automatic should do, but some Mercedes have a foot-operated parking brake if you really want verisimilitude. However, I strongly agree with the above - do the test in a manual and then convert. Otherwise you are limited in car options for the rest of your life - e.g. hire cars, vans etc.
 

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I wouldn't get a auto only license, its way too limiting. Hire are car in the UK, even if you say you want an Auto you still sometimes get a manual.

(I haven't driven a manual since I passed my test)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the ideas! I take the point about a manual giving more choices, but I really can't see him driving anything but an EV. So automatic it is, with pedal parking brake if possible. Thank you!

Peter.
 

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Really dont limit him. Even if he personally has an electric car he may end up with a job requiring him to drive, and having an automatic licence may well give him constraints. WIth my own kids, it was cheaper for me to buy a cheap small hatchback and insure it, than it was to add them to my insurance.
With an ELectric car, there will be a good possibility that he will have to rent a hire car for a long journey, and again a auto licence will really hamper him.
Dont try and get a vehicle like the Leaf, you didnt learn in one , and Im sure he will be able to readly learn how to drive an EV. Deal with this as a two stage event. Get licence but dont use the leaf. With licence obtained then drive the leaf. He is then set up for life in terms of being able to drive.
I have a friend who only has an auto licence, and its been a real constraint on what and how she can drive.
 

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my first post was going to be about EV's but saw this. I second the above - you must get him to learn in manual, the auto license is so limiting. It teaches a lot more about car control having to know what a clutch does. Buy a cheap banger small petrol for car not a lot of money.
I have had only automatics for last 16 years but thats not the point, I can drive a manual if and when I need to . The ICE is not dead yet . Any hire car in uk will be manual for years to come. he might end up as a bus/truck driver / motorhomer / caravanner; any of those you need to be able to deal with a manual diesel.
 

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It's hard to find manual transmissions here in the US, but my wife prefers a manual, and I like driving them, though I have had autos for my last few cars. Our daughter will definitely learn to drive on a manual, though.

BTW, who here learned to drive with a "three on the tree"?
 

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Here in the UK, few vehicles are Automatic. Automatics tend to be premium vehicles, so everyday cars and especially hire cars and those run by companies for their business activities tend to be manuals. Hardly any commercial vehicles/ vans are Autos.
In the UK if you learn to drive with an Automatic, then your licence is restricted and you cant drive a Manual without a further test. If you learn to drive in a Manual, then you can drive an Automatic with no further test. Hence why most people take the Manual test, and whay few Driving Schools have Autos, there isnt a lot of call for it.
As the originator of this string has found out.
 

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It will start to change here in the UK too very soon. I expect the majority of cars being sold in the next 5 to 7 years to be automatic. With an onslaught of hybrid vehicles and much improved multi gear dual clutch autoboxes becoming far more common.

Unlike previous demand for automatics this final demand will be driven more by the need to hit emissions targets and better economy than consumer demand for easy driving.
 

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my first post was going to be about EV's but saw this. I second the above - you must get him to learn in manual, the auto license is so limiting. It teaches a lot more about car control having to know what a clutch does. Buy a cheap banger small petrol for car not a lot of money.
I have had only automatics for last 16 years but thats not the point, I can drive a manual if and when I need to . The ICE is not dead yet . Any hire car in uk will be manual for years to come. he might end up as a bus/truck driver / motorhomer / caravanner; any of those you need to be able to deal with a manual diesel.
I sometimes hire cars for work, and always request an automatic, and always get one (from Enterprise).
 

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Really dont limit him. Even if he personally has an electric car he may end up with a job requiring him to drive, and having an automatic licence may well give him constraints
Agree. Also not being able to ever hire a van (almost none auto in UK) I see as a major issue and what about driving on a European holiday? We hire regularly in Spain and autos are difficult to get and very expensive. SWMBO hates manual but won't pay the extra cost.
 

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I have to agree with Jack. You should encourage your son to do a manual test. It takes one or two trips to get used to an automatic after driving a manual for years.

An automatic licence is a handicap that can cause problems later in life. Think hire cars or courtesy cars etc.
 

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Until the Leaf I've always had a manual gearbox cars (and still have two including my first one built in1962.) However my Mother preferred automatics so obtained herself an automatic mini. I was on her insurance and just drove it without thinking whether it was manual or automatic. It's really just the same, only there are no gears to change (actually gears could be selected so I sometimes did, but it didn't have a clutch of course.!)
Best to learn on a manual for now still. If you use a driving school's car he can swap to the EV once he's passed his test. It shouldn't be an issue at all.
 

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I've driven a Jetta Sportwagen with DSG transmission for the past five years and had the ability to shift gears with an automatic clutch. I never used it since if I grab a stick shift, my muscle memory is the typical "H" shape. I surely didn't want to grab the stick, think I'm changing gears, and instead throw it into park or reverse! :)

Paddle shifters would solve that, but my JSW didn't have them.
 

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I have to agree with Jack. You should encourage your son to do a manual test. It takes one or two trips to get used to an automatic after driving a manual for years..
Took me a month or two to stop instinctively trying to change gear or reach for the handbrake. And my left foot got a workout trying to press the nonexistant clutch :p

OTOH that was after 10 years driving a manual. Someone who's just passed wouldn't have the muscle memory to unlearn.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It turns out that it's quite hard to find automatic lessons, so he will indeed be learning on manual. Thanks to all who replied!
 
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