Can You Drive An Electric Car With an Automatic License?

Getting a driving license is mandatory around the world. If you want to take your vehicle on the road, you must have a valid driver’s license to avoid legal action. There are different licenses for unique types of vehicles. You may get a manual license to drive a manual car. Similarly, an automatic license can make you road-legal with your automatic transmission vehicle. Do you need an automatic license for electric cars?

If you wonder whether your automatic license would work for your E.V., we have plenty of information to help you figure it out. Before we try to answer this question, it is vital to know about the transmission system of electric cars. The details can help you understand which license is valid for your E.V.

E.V. Transmission System

You may have heard about how manual vehicles work. If you need to drive a car with a manual transmission, you must operate the gears manually by applying pressure on the clutch.

On the flip side, automatic cars do not require such an operation. They do not have a clutch pedal and manual gears to drive the vehicle. You can hold the gear lever and put it in ‘D’ to drive the car.

You may not be alone if you wonder what type of transmission electric vehicles have. Many car drivers ask questions about the transmission system of a typical E.V.

Electric vehicles use the automatic transmission system. They do not have a clutch pedal or manual gears to operate. What makes them unique from automatic cars is the absence of a gearbox.

The technology used in electric cars does not require a gear function. A typical E.V. comes with a braking pedal and a throttle only.

If you want to drive an E.V., you may encounter a few surprises when you get inside the car. The missing gear nob may get you thinking about how to drive the vehicle.

Electric vehicles have a switch to engage your car in ‘Drive,’ ‘Park,’ or ‘Reverse.’ In high-end E.V.s, you may also find driving modes to enhance your vehicle’s performance. 

The automatic transmission of E.V.s only has one gear. This is due to the higher RPM of electric vehicles. When you press the pedal, you may feel the car speeding up without shifting gears.

Here, it is worth mentioning that the one-speed transmission does not mean poor performance. You can get the same power from your electric car from an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE).

Can you drive an electric car with an automatic licence
Can you drive an electric car with an automatic licence

Read Why you should not buy an electric car

Driving Electric Cars With Automatic License

Going through the information above may have given you an idea about why electric cars are automatic. If you have an automatic driver’s license, you can use it to drive your electric vehicle.

Currently, there are no specific licenses for electric vehicles across the country. The state authorities allow citizens to drive their E.V.s with a valid automatic license.

If your E.V. weighs 3.5 tonnes or more, you may need to qualify for a few additional driving tests to get your license.

Can You Use Your Manual License for E.V.s?

The driving license for manual transmission vehicles does not work for automatic cars. You may apply for an automatic driver’s license to be eligible for automatic transmission driving. Since electric cars are automatic vehicles (despite the absence of a gearbox), you may not be able to use your manual license for your E.V.

As a resident of the United States, you may not need a manual driving license at all. The standard of manual-transmission vehicles has nearly vanished all over the region. You can only find automatic vehicles to buy and drive.

What Happens If You Pass Your Test In an E.V.?

Applying for a driver’s license involves several stages. Before proceeding with the test, you must learn the valuable information in the handbook. If you wonder whether you can pass the test in your electric vehicle, the answer is yes. However, you may only be allowed to drive automatic cars once you clear the test.

Read Electric Car or Gas Car: Which is a Better Option?

Types of Vehicles You Can Drive With Automatic License

Getting a driver’s license in the U.S. can be difficult. Many drivers often end up receiving a penalty charge due to violations. Knowing the vehicles you can drive while having a valid automatic license is vital to keeping your records free of violation charges.

Traditional Auto-Gear Vehicles

Traditional automatic vehicles have been around for many years. Such vehicles do not consist of modern automatic gearboxes.

Generally, traditional transmissions come without a clutch pedal and use a gear knob to drive the car. These vehicles are not fuel-efficient and have a delayed acceleration than the modern automatic transmission systems.

You can drive traditional auto-gear vehicles nationwide with a valid automatic license. While this may be correct, you may need to check for the violation codes for different states.

Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) Vehicles

CVT is a modern transmission system with improved gear ratios. This technology overcomes the flaws of the traditional automatic transmission by delivering enhanced performance without delays. A vast majority of the automatic vehicles today feature the CVT transmission system.

You can drive a CVT car while having a valid automatic driver’s license in the city and traveling between the states.

Semi-Automatic Transmission Vehicles

Semi-automatic vehicles are most popular among those who like to take control of their gear-changing ratios. These cars do not have a clutch pedal, but they allow the drivers to shift gears manually. Typically, you will find a paddle-shifter in semi-automatic cars to shift up and down.

If you want to buy a semi-automatic car, you are eligible to drive it with your valid automatic driving license issued by the state authorities.

Electric Vehicle Transmission

With the rapidly increasing number of E.V.s around the globe, more drivers are opting for electric cars to save fuel and preserve the environment. Despite the single gear, we can classify E.V.s as automatic transmission vehicles.

You can buy and drive your electric car with a valid automatic license. If you want to travel between states, you may need to check for the violation codes to avoid any penalties.

Read What to Do When Your Electric Car Runs Out of Charge?

How to Get an Automatic License for E.V.s?

To keep yourself out of legal trouble, you need a valid driver’s license in the U.S. to drive a vehicle. If you want to buy your new E.V. and need a valid driving license, the following steps can help you get it.

There are three phases of applying for a driver’s license in the U.S. We have listed each below to help you.

Applying for Learner’s Permit

In the first phase, you must apply for a learner’s permit. Here is what you need to do to receive a learner’s permit to drive successfully.

Study the Driver’s Handbook

Your journey to getting a valid license starts from the driver’s handbook. You may find it in the printed form or download it online from the official DMV website of your state.

The handbook has all the rules you need to follow while driving. As a citizen of the United States, you must read through and be aware of all the listed rules in the handbook.

Qualifications for Learner’s Permit

After you go through the driver’s handbook, you must evaluate the qualifications to receive your learner’s permit. The primary eligibility criteria require you to be a citizen of the U.S. with an age of 14-16 years (per your state’s laws).

Some states may require you to complete the driver’s education courses before applying for the permit.

Proof of Identity and Residence

You must provide proof of your identity and residence to get your learner’s permit. The proof documents may include your birth certificate, I.D. card issued by your state, or your passport.

To provide proof of residence, you may need to submit your utility bills or credit statements with a printed home address.

For under 18 citizens, parents or guardians can also provide and testify the required information. Some states also require under 18 citizens to provide proof of schooling. 

Paying the Fees

After providing proof of identity and residence, you must pay the test fee. Each state may have a different fee structure for applying for a learner’s permit.

Moreover, the payment methods may also vary for different states. You can check the details online and submit the payment according to the official instructions.

Taking Tests

To get a learner’s driving license, you must first pass the written and vision test. The written assessment consists of traffic rules, road awareness knowledge, and other information listed in the driver’s handbook.

On the other side, the vision test aims to check the driver’s ability to see a vehicle’s functions, traffic, and road conditions to drive safely.

If you wear spectacles, you must wear them for the vision test. The examiner can endorse it and add the information to your permit. However, you must wear spectacles or lenses while driving for your permit to be legal.

Receiving the Permit

Once you clear the tests and provide the required documents, you may receive a learner’s permit. To avoid violations, it is vital to go through the rules and restrictions listed on your permit.

You can also find the validity period of your learner’s permit. Please note that the validity period for different ages may vary.

can you drive an electric car on an automatic license
can you drive an electric car on an automatic license

Learn to Drive

In the second phase, you can learn to drive a vehicle with a valid permit. You can follow the steps below to complete the learning process successfully.

Driver’s Education Course

Taking the driver’s education course while learning to drive is crucial. As a high school student, you can take the classes in your school for free or at reduced charges. Taking the course helps you learn what to do and avoid while driving.

The driver’s education course also enables you to develop a rhythm in following the steps to drive a car. For example, you may learn the correct use of foot pedals, gear knobs, indicators, etc. 

Assisted Learning

To drive your car with a learner’s permit, you must always have a licensed driver with you. The driver can assist you in driving under different road conditions. They may also guide you on the correct use of different car functions.

It is important to remember that you must learn to drive accurately before applying for an automatic license.

Getting the Automatic Driver’s License

In the final stage, you can apply for your official driving license following the steps listed below.

Schedule Your Appointment

You may need to schedule an appointment with the local DMV to apply for your automatic driver’s license. You may check with the examiner if you need to bring your car to the center. You may also need to take a licensed driver with you to drive you back if you do not pass the test.

Complete Your License Application

You must fill out an application form (as advised by your state) to apply for your driver’s license. The application may require you to enter your basic information, including name, address, height, weight, and other details.

Submitting Documents and Fees

Once you complete the application, you may proceed with submitting your documents and test fees. The required documents may include your identity proof, learner’s permit, and birth certificate. The fee for the driving test may vary for each state.

Take the Test

In the final step, the DMV examiner will examine your driving and traffic knowledge to evaluate your status. You may need to drive under different conditions to prove your learning. You must follow all the rules and laws to avoid penalties during your test.

After completing the test, the examiner will inform you about your performance. If you fail the test, you may need to wait for a specific period before applying for the license again. 

The Takeaway

Having a valid automatic license for electric cars is mandatory. If you drive an automatic vehicle and want to switch to an E.V. soon, you can use your valid license to operate your electric car. However, you may consult with your local state DMV office to check the status of your license for driving an E.V. to avoid any penalties.

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