Educating tomorrow's drivers
Achieving more responsible, cleaner mobility entails changing people’s values. Teaching today’s children to respect the environment is the best way of saving the planet.
Cortés de Sevilla is a wild but innocent, caring and somewhat cowardly bull. On his wanderings around the forest, Cortés will meet a new group of friends who are aware of the importance of protecting the world around them: a friendly squirrel, a vain penguin, the wise Mother Earth, and a boy called Nikolaus. Through his new friends and an electric car, our main character will learn about the importance of respecting the environment and conserving nature, facing up to his own fears along the way.
This is the plot of the children’s story “The invisible Nikolaus”: a musical show by Varela Producciones and the Blanca Marsillach stage company. This year’s show includes a new character: an all-electric car, the role of which is to teach the forest animals how to care for the environment through efficient driving and by making small changes at home.
“This is the first show its kind in which we have included an electric car as a character, so that boys and girls can find out about their benefits at first hand,” explains the actress and theatre producer, Blanca Marsillach, during the presentation of the show. In doing so, the kids become “the best ambassadors for sustainable mobility,” Marsillach adds, and they will instil the same values in their families.
While many parents often chose to buy an electric vehicle because of the Renove part-exchange plans, to save fuel or to benefit from the advantages they bring when driving and parking in cities, their children will do so driven by the strong conviction that there is no other alternative for getting around if we want to protect the environment.
“They’re quite convinced in my house; children are more environmentally aware. They love it,” comments Cristina García, an electric vehicle owner. “What they like is that it isn’t noisy and it doesn’t emit any fumes… I told my daughter the other day that when she’s as old as me, most cars will be electric. Otherwise, we won’t be able to live in cities.”
Indeed, young people have already welcomed electric cars with open arms. Ninety percent of university students consulted in a survey by the car leasing firm Alphabet said they liked this type of car. “
e-mobility has been well accepted by the student community. It is a clear sign that mobility habits are changing and that other means of getting around are possible,” says Alphabet’s CEO, Rocío Carrascosa.
In Spain, Pozuelo Town Council is running a pioneering initiative at a karting track where children and their families can find out about the benefits of electric cars and efficient driving. Sector-specific trade shows in Madrid and Barcelona are also running activities for children each year, giving them a chance to familiarise themselves with the vehicles they will be driving in the future.
Electric cars are, in fact, more than just a means of transport; they can become a vehicle for teaching values. This is at least the idea of the Kid’s Kitcar-Greenpower Iberia Association, allowing children from the age of nine years onwards to design and build their own electric cars to race in regional, national and international competitions.
“Our aim is to create a unique ecosystem in which these interests in the fields of science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM) can be indulged. Children ‘learn by doing’ and the human values of teamwork are fostered,” states the website of the entity founded by Primitivo Carranza – an engineer from the Basque Country and chairman of the association that works with several schools in the Basque Country.
Elsewhere, one of the leading battery-powered car manufacturers, Tesla, has been running guided tours of its workshops in China for several months. The goal is to show the youngest in society how to wean ourselves off our addiction to fossil fuels.
because they are precisely the ones most exposed to the risks of pollution and the dangers of traffic. “Children are pure pedestrians; they don’t have a choice. That’s why they urge the authorities to let them leave the house, cross the road and use public places without their parents worrying,” says the website of Children’s City (La città dei bambini): an international project that aims to involve children in designing the urban environment.
The project provides teaching resources and aims to create safe routes for children to use in their daily lives, for instance on their way to school; to establish car-free play areas; and also to educate them about road safety and sustainable mobility, using both public transport and new solutions such as electric car sharing.
Mobility Weeks are being organised by a number of local councils across Spain alongside these initiatives. Activities are held on road safety and sustainable transport, and on itineraries to find safer routes for children who walk or cycle to school.
The topics of sustainable mobility and electric cars are gradually becoming commonplace in schools and after-school activities, although there is still a long way to go. The journey ahead is long, but teachers have something in their favour. Why? Because how many children have never dreamt about having and driving an electric car?