American car company Tesla Inc, formerly Tesla Motors, pioneered the electric sports car with the Roadster. The first one was delivered to CEO Elon Musk in 2008. It has the honor of being the first street legal, all electric car to use lithium-ion battery technology and the first to reach over 200 miles on one charge.
Released in 2012 and still going strong in sales, the Model S brought an all-electric five-door liftback to the public. Tesla thought if Mom and Dad can enjoy the sleek styling of an electric vehicle, then kids should have that option too. Thus, was born the Tesla Model S for Kids by Radio Flyer, which is a ride-on car.
Tesla for Tykes
Before Tesla got in on the game, there were, and still are plenty of ride-on cars for kids to choose from, including a Jeep Wrangler, Rastar Bentley and Chevy Camaro, to name just a few. Most of these are powered by traditional 12 Volt rechargeable batteries. And, truth be told, they are pretty cool looking and have working features. They aren’t cheap either. Some bounce up in to the $300 range.
But… there wasn’t a ride-on car that plugged into a lithium ion battery and that, I’m sure, ignited Elon Musk’s competitive spirit. He enjoys introducing firsts and leading the pack in new technologies. Here again, Musk can claim bragging rights. The Model S for Kids is the first, and for now, only kids’ car to use lithium ion battery technology.
Tesla went so far as to trademark their lithium ion battery technology Flight Speed™. They say it performs best in class. Well, it’s the only one in its class so, while it’s technically true, it smacks of a claim recommended by marketing execs coming up with it and then patting themselves on the back for being so clever.
Lower Impact on the Environment
But, Tesla says they engineered Flight Speed™ to have a lower impact on the environment. Now, I like that, and it’s a legit selling point; Tesla’s mission is to create vehicles that treat Mother Nature with kid gloves, so if they didn’t have an environmentally friendly version, they would’ve gotten slammed.
Alkaline batteries are harsh on the environment. Once completely drained of juice, they are up dumped in the trash and ultimately end up in landfills where their dangerous chemicals leach into the soil. Sure, there are places to safely dispose of those dead batteries, but it’s not convenient. You have to figure out where there’s a receptacle and remember to do it. Most of us get lazy and guiltily throw them out with the kitchen trash.
Features and Accessories
Designed for kids ages 3-8 and weighing up to 81 lb, the Tesla Model S for Kids reaches a top speed of 6 mph, which is comparable to other ride-ons. And, like alkaline battery options, the Tesla for tykes comes with the typical working features, such as a trunk, horn, headlights and even a port to plug in an MP3 player. Yes, these cars for tots are pretty advanced compared to what I was driving at that age. Tesla also offers optional accessories, including a personalized license plate, car cover and parking sign to reserve your spot.
Many of the automakers make powered up ride-ons of their popular models. So, why not Tesla? For about $100-150 bucks more than higher end ride-on models offered in the market, you can buy a Tesla—and feel like you and your kid are doing something to lessen the impact on the environment.