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Driving small electric vehicles to be legal from age 16, announces traffic authority
Monday, June 13, 2022 @ 8:01 PM

YOUNG adults may soon be permitted to drive small electrically-powered vehicles capable of top speeds of 90 kilometres per hour (56mph), currently the maximum allowed on non-motorway roads, from age 16, according to Spain's General Directorate of Traffic (DGT).

Part of the ministry for public works and transport, the DGT says it is considering launching a 'B1' licence for those who are as yet too young to drive a car, in a bid to increase mobility for those living in remote rural areas and to give them a safer, less-polluting option than motorcycles.

The type of cars a 16- or 17-year-old would be able to drive in Spain if the ‘B1’ licence was extended to younger adults (photo: Movilidad Hoy)

Additionally, an AM licence for driving four-wheeled, 425-kilo vehicles – as well as for riding small motorbikes, scooters and mopeds - which are only capable of speeds up to 45 kilometres per hour (28mph), is expected to be launched for young people from age 15.

Young people who live in built-up areas, and whose school or college and friends live in the same town, often use small bikes until well into adulthood, as they are much cheaper to buy and run than a car, the test is easier to pass and lessons less expensive, plus the mild winters in the southern half of the country mean it is not uncomfortable to use open-air transport all year round.

But those who live deep in the countryside, or in villages and small towns, commutes take much longer on a bike, and these are far less safe than a small electrical vehicle – as well as much more polluting.

In Spain, the minimum age for starting to learn to drive a car is 18, and learners are only allowed behind the wheel during lessons with an approved driving school – practising in the family car with parents and L-plates is against the law, even on car parks – meaning considerable costs incurred before a test is even taken.

Once they have passed, though, like any other adult car-driver, they then have a licence for a vehicle of up to 3.5 tonnes and capable of top speeds of 120 kilometres per hour (74.6mph) – or which, even if they are able to go faster, cannot do so legally as this is the maximum on Spanish motorways.

Being able to get a licence for a small car with a limited engine size and electrically-powered means young adults will have acquired road sense and vehicle-handling experience before they start learning to drive a full-sized car, and also will get them used to non-petrol and non-diesel vehicles, encouraging their wider use once they eventually become more mainstream.

The type of vehicle the 16-plus age group would be allowed to drive would have a maximum weight of 450 kilos, or 0.4 tonnes, and a top power of 20.4CV.



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