• Orla Grant
  • 3 min read

We all remember our first driving test, right? The fear! Hear from Orla Grant, who took her first driving test in an electric car.

My partner Dan and I bought our first car, a Renault Clio, in 2020. But as I hadn’t yet passed my driving test, I spent more time as the passenger than the driver.

This was the car I intended on using for my driving test. Despite a few years of driving lessons and taking the car for a practice spin at pretty much every opportunity I could get, I never believed I was ready for the driving test.

But then, in 2023 we switched to an electric vehicle (EV), a Skoda Enyaq, and everything changed.

From frustration to freedom

Before the EV, I used to dread driving the car. I was constantly worried about stalling or rolling back on hills. Lifting my foot gently off the clutch was just something I could not master and made me nervous about driving.

Within a month of switching to the EV, I was transformed. I no longer felt that anxiety that previously went hand in hand with driving. Instead, it was replaced by smooth, confident driving. With the touch of a button, I could shift into drive mode, and glide away. I booked my driving test without hesitation.

Silence is golden

On the day of the test, I was nervous but confident. As with all EVs, it is very quiet to drive. You don’t have that same engine noise you get with a petrol / diesel car. I was able to focus on my examiner’s directions and the silence kept me calm and collected throughout the test.

EV talk time

Midway through the test, my examiner surprised me with questions about the car. He was curious about the range, charging costs, and my driving experience. As I answered, explaining how much I loved the smooth acceleration and quiet ride, I felt myself relax. He even mentioned his wife's hybrid car and his own EV considerations.

He was particularly interested in the range and how much it cost to charge at home. Our car can do up to 378km, this depends on driving conditions, but I could safely travel 250-300km without stopping to charge. It’s very rare we travel that distance anyway. And it costs us €8 for an overnight charge. That gets us to 80% - the optimum charging percentage for battery health.

Tech to the rescue

Modern cars are practically computers on wheels, and my EV is no exception. The dashboard displays speed limits, upcoming roundabouts, and lane departure warnings, adding an extra layer of comfort and confidence, especially for a new driver like me.

The EV grin is real

In my role at SEAI, I have interviewed many EV drivers. One guy spoke about the "EV grin". I get it now; I have one too. It's the smile you get from cruising silently and smoothly, knowing you're leaving a clean air trail.

To answer the question you have all been waiting for……. YES, I passed my test!

I was delighted with myself.

I believe EVs are easier to drive and are the way forward for first time drivers. With a thriving second-hand market, EVs are becoming more affordable for everyone. I hope my story will encourage more people to take a test drive and experience the joy of EV driving.

Why drive electric?    Find your local dealer and book a test drive

Orla Grant | Communications Content Specialist

Orla is a member of the Digital Marketing team and creates digital content that tells the stories of sustainable energy initiatives happening in Ireland. She writes blogs and case studies and produces SEAI’s podcast, videos and animations. Orla has several years’ experience in corporate communications and has worked for clients and in-house across consulting, tourism, tax and construction sectors.