Do You Need a License to Drive an Electric Car?


Electric cars are becoming quite popular in most parts of the world. These vehicles are safer for the environment, require less maintenance, and are quieter, among many other benefits. However, electric vehicles (EVs) are still relatively new, and most people are not aware of the rules and regulations of driving them. For instance, most people wonder if they need a license to drive EVs.

Currently, you’re required to have a driving license to drive any car. Most electric vehicles fall in this category. However, manufacturers like Citroën and Renault have manufactured EVs referred to as “light quadricycles” that you can drive without a license.

Several guidelines have been put in place to ensure safety and boost the use of EVs. If you’re thinking of getting one of these vehicles, you should know what’s expected of you and which options are available for unlicensed drivers. This article contains this information and more. Let’s get this show on the road.

Is a Driving License Compulsory for Electric Cars?

Everyone who plans to operate a motor vehicle is required to have a driving license, whether they have an electric car or gas engine motor vehicle. Without a license, you’re not allowed to operate any motor vehicle on public roads. This law was put in place to ensure the road is safe from reckless and insufficient drivers.

However, not all EVs fall in this category. There are two-wheeler EVs that are considered safer than motor vehicles that don’t require a driving license to operate. The vehicles have a top speed of up to 25km/hr and a power of up to 250W. If your car doesn’t have these specifications, you need a driver’s license to operate it.

Can You Drive a Tesla Without a License?

Contrary to popular belief, self-driving vehicles like Tesla’s aren’t really able to operate themselves. Most people ask if they can drive a Tesla without a license because they believe the car can drive itself. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Numerous accidents have been reported where Tesla drivers were driving on auto-pilot.

Therefore, like any other vehicle, you need to have a license to operate a Tesla. What’s more, you must be above 21 years of age to be allowed to drive a Tesla in most countries.

Source: US Today

What Electric Cars Can You Drive Without a License?

If you don’t have a full car driving license from age 16 and above, all hope isn’t lost. You can legally drive specific electric cars on public roads. As of 2013, a license category dubbed ‘AM’ allows the use of light quad bikes on public roads without a license. To qualify as a quad bike, the vehicle must:

  • Have an unladen mass not exceeding 350kg. This doesn’t include batteries if it’s an electric vehicle.
  • Have a maximum design speed of over 25km/hr but not exceeding 45km/hr.

Currently, two vehicles fall in this category. These are:

  • Citroën Ami
  • Renault’s Twizy

Citroën Ami

The Ami is yet to be fully sanctioned in the US and the UK. However, in France, many people are taking advantage of the vehicle.  The car costs £6000 or £5,300. You have several purchase options, including buying it at £17.50 per month or after a £2,350 deposit. Alternatively, you can subscribe to a car-sharing app. Here, you’ll be required to pay £7 a month for the subscription and pay 23p for every minute.

The light quadricycle is expected to enter the US market soon. The prices are expected to start from $7225. However, sources say that those who will be interested in driving the vehicle will be able to do it on a rental basis. Currently, there isn’t official information on when the car will be available for rentals or how much it will cost.

Ami Features

The Ami isn’t your typical electric car. In fact, it’s not a car but a quadricycle that’s quite tiny compared to a regular-sized car. The vehicle is 7 feet, 11 inches long. The Ami features symmetrical doors, bumpers, and under-body panels. However, the general design tries to keep unique elements at a minimum. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect anything fancy.

The interior is also quite basic, and you may have to use your phone if you want to have a real car experience like listening to music. The car is also not the fastest. It has a maximum speed of 45Km/hr, which is as fast as the fastest E-bike you’ll find in Europe. Therefore, don’t expect it to get you too far. It may also not be the best vehicle to use on extremely busy roads because you can’t cut corners as easily as you would with a bike.

However, despite the limitations, many people are embracing this vehicle because anyone from 14 years old can drive the quadricycle.

Source: Good Housekeeping

Renault’s Twizy

Another electric vehicle you can drive without a driving license is Renault’s Twizy. Like the Ami, this is a quadricycle that anyone aged 14 and above can drive without a driver’s license. However, the Twizy is believed to be more affordable than the Ami because the manufacturer leases the battery for $40 per month. However, the price of buying the Twizy is the same as the Ami – £6000.

This microcar is also popular in France and hasn’t been fully sanctioned in the US or the UK yet. However, many countries are open to the idea of introducing the vehicles because they are believed to be less damaging to the roads and safer for pedestrians.

Source: The Ethical Choice

Twizy Features

The Twizy is a bit faster than the Ami, with a speed of up to 100 km/h. However, like the Ami, it has basic features, including two seats, minimal exterior and interior design, and additional features. The car battery holds charge for up to 3.5 hours.

Source: Driving Test Tips

Who Would Benefit the Most from These Cars?

The Ami and Twizy have revolutionized how people commute in France, and they’re expected to have the same effect in other countries. However, these quadricycles are not for everyone. Some of the people who can benefit from these vehicles include:

  • Students who don’t have a long commute
  • People who don’t mind speed
  • Someone who isn’t concerned about the bells and whistles that come with regular vehicles
  • People aged 14 and above who are not yet of the legal age to get a driver’s license
  • Someone who’s looking to get into the quadricycle renting business
  • Anyone looking for a more comfortable alternative to a bike

Wrapping Up

If you’re underage or haven’t gotten around getting your driver’s license and you were thinking an electric car is your way out, you can think again. You’re required to have a driving license to drive any motor vehicle, including EVs in any part of the world. This is mostly because there isn’t any car that’s fully self-driving. Even Tesla, one of the biggest brands, produces hybrid vehicles that require you to drive at some point.

The only way to operate an electric vehicle without a license is to invest in the Amy or Twizy quadricycles. These are way smaller and can be driven by anyone above the age of 14. However, they have a lot of limitations, such as cost, speed, and limited features, among others. If you weigh the pros and cons, it’s best to get your driver’s license and drive a real car.

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