Thursday 29 September 2016

How David plugged into a bit of history with e-car driving test

Eddie Cunningham Motoring Editor

Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30

Success: David, on right, holding his certificate of competency with Windsor Motors dealer principal Michael Butler beside the Nissan Leaf.
Success: David, on right, holding his certificate of competency with Windsor Motors dealer principal Michael Butler beside the Nissan Leaf.
David Killilea - passed his test in an electric car.

IT has taken four attempts but 23-year-old David Killilea finally got his driving test.

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Nothing that unusual there you might think - except he believes he has made, or shared, a little bit of history in the process.

He is the first, or certainly among the first, in the country to pass the driving test in an electric car.

It has not been easy and it has taken a long time. And there is more to come.

It has been a tough journey for the Maree, Oranmore, Co Galway man who is studying for an MSc in Sustainable Energy at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

It all began in March of last year when he was applying to study for a masters and preparing to do his driving test - at much the same time.

As he filled out 'personal statements' for institutions for a masters' course he also began to wonder if anyone had passed their driving test in an electric car.

He researched the matter and as far as he could find out from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) no one had.

So that gave him the incentive to try to be first and he set out to make that little bit of history for himself.

He got a test date for the Loughrea centre and arranged for an electric car (a Renault Fluence) from Bradley Motors, Galway

He failed. And he failed the next one - this time at the Westside test centre in Galway city.

For test Number Three in September of last year - also at Westside - he drove a Nissan Leaf, this time courtesy of Windsor Motors in Galway.

But that didn't change his luck either.

David recalls: "I failed yet again."

However, he finally passed earlier this year and is pictured holding his certificate of competency with Windsor Motors dealer principal Michael Butler beside the Nissan Leaf.

But it is not over yet.

He told us: "After all that, I'll be sitting another driving test this summer to qualify for a manual as electric cars are considered automatics."

His decision to do the test in an electric car wasn't based on a whim.

He says he has, and always had, a deep concern for the environment - he grew up on a small holding - and is a member of Greenpeace.

David has travelled widely (Nepal, India, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, China, Mongolia and Russia).

And he has worked with the EU Regional Development Fund on community energy projects. Now for the next test.

The Road Safety Authority can't say for certain if David is the first. Let us know if you are one of the elite to have passed your driving test in an electric car.

Irish Independent

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