Innovative electric car maker Tesla, whose Model S-P85D performed better in Consumer Reports evaluations than any car in the magazine’s 80-year history of vehicle testing, has teamed up with Chicago-based toymaker Radio Flyer, known for its iconic, ubiquitous (and much cheaper) red wagons and tricycles, to create a toy model of its Model S for kids aged three to eight.
But don’t fret, moms! The kids’ Model S doesn’t come close to the grown-up model’s speed of 0-60 in under four seconds. You control how fast it goes with a 3 mph max setting for beginning drivers and 6 mph max for more experienced operators. Though not as fast as some battery-operated ride-ons, (some top 18mph) it is faster than many others on the market and can carry up to 81 lbs. Utilizing UL certified lithium ion batteries, (unlike the fire hazards in hoverboards, which recently made headlines, these batteries have been used successfully in power tools for years), the kids’ Tesla is the first electric ride-on vehicle for children. Constructed of high impact plastic, it has a “spacious interior” (the manufacturer’s description), working headlights, battery life indicator, sound system, and a trunk in the front for storage. It charges in only three hours, and can be driven in reverse.
When pre-ordering through the Radio Flyer website, you can even select from actual Model S paint colors to customize their ride, including dark blue metallic and midnight silver metallic. Buyers also have high-end options to purchase indoor car covers, battery upgrades and special license plates. The toy Model S is expected to begin shipping in March but orders placed today won’t ship until June.
So, move over X-box. Instead of playing driving games indoors on a computer screen, this toy gets your child outdoors and helps your Motor Princess develop the dexterity and road awareness necessary to be a successful driver. For $499, comparable to many Fisher-Price Power Wheels ride-on models with slower max speeds, you can give your Motor Princess a taste of luxury in her first “car”.
But don’t be surprised if she wants one when she grows up.