It may be starting slowly, but the spread of EVs into our everyday motoring lives continues. Tesla may have style, but it is the Leaf that is the Model T of the EV revolution – the electric car for the masses. Not only have we seen it in regular private passenger configuration, but we have seen this model being used as taxis and rental cars in Japan.
Now, with more and more people buying electric cars for use as their primary everyday transportation, it makes sense that new drivers would want to learn to drive in one. With this in mind, the forward-thinking Josei driving school in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture has become the first in Japan to take delivery of their Leaf driving instruction car (pictured below).
The base Leaf EV is modified by Nissan subsidiary Autech to have the necessary safety additions, such as extra mirrors and the all-important brake pedal for the instructor. The cost of this conversion is put at about 730,000 Yen (currently about $9400), which brings the total vehicle cost up to 4.5 million Yen (a whopping $58,000). However, this is not so bad once various subsidies have been applied, which pull the price down by about one third.
Driving school cars in Japan typically travel only 100 kilometers per day, which is well within the Leaf’s range. An overnight charge, and it is ready to go the next morning. New drivers are usually hardly the smoothest of operators, so an EV may well be the ideal vehicle from a fuel-economy point of view, not to mention the marketing angle of being able to learn on the latest tech vehicle. However, with driving schools in Kanagawa Prefecture having two more on order, this advantage does not seem to be set to last long as EVs become a common fixture at driving schools in Japan.
Source: SankeiBiz (Japanese)