The world’s first electric car specially developed for five to 10 year olds has been officially released - with the name Firefly. And it is NOT a toy!
Sure; there are small cars for the little people to 'drive', but in all honesty, these are toys, primarily for the under-fives - so there is a huge gap in the market for 5-10 year olds out there who have a penchant for driving. And that is the gap that a division of Young Driver - the UK’s largest provider of pre-17 driving lessons that offers lessons for 10-17 year-olds - called Young Driver Motor Cars Limited (YDMC), is hoping to fill.
Young Driver recruited a team of UK automotive experts, leading designers, and one UK automotive suppliers with the mission to design, engineer and manufacture a properly engineered small electric car suitable for the under 10's to drive, and thus the Firefly was born.
The first two-seater Firefly cars were revealed in pre-production prototype form in April at the Gadget Show Live, where over 1,000 youngsters got the chance to put the four prototypes through their paces. And building on the results of those 'tests', YDMC continued to develop, test and refine the Firefly, finally ending up with the finished product which handles and drives like a full-sized car.
When you take a look at just what makes up the technical spec of the Firefly - hydraulic disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, independent suspension, an electronic tablet based dashboard - that is impressive enough; but then you take a look at the body of the car styled by veteran car designer, Chris Johnson, and you realise that you are dealing with an actual car rather than a toy.
Like the electric cars currently climbing the popularity charts for grown-ups, the Firefly is powered by a state of the art electric drive train featuring twin electric motors that can be set to either Junior or Experienced mode, with a top speed restricted to 10mph for Experienced and 5mph for Junior.
The car also features an innovative (patent pending) and optional safety system that uses sensors to detect obstacles in time to bring the car to a halt when in Junior mode. This works in both forward or reverse modes, and is supplemented by a remote control switch which enables adults to stop the car from up to 120 metres away in case of an emergency. When it comes to Experienced mode, the automatic sensors and 5mph speed limit are deactivated, but the remote control is still operational.
No worries either about reaching the pedals, as the driver's seat is adjustable to allow most 5-10 tear-olds to reach the pedals - and an adult up to 6ft tall can also drive, or be a passenger.
The creation of Firefly obviously means that Young Driver can now offer lessons specifically developed for this younger age group at selected venues in the UK.Kim Stanton, who heads up Young Driver, said:"We are delighted to be officially launching Young Driver Motor Car’s first electric car aimed at five to 10 year olds - Firefly. It has taken over a year to come together and involved the hard work of many talented and experienced people from the UK’s vibrant and successful automotive industry. We were surprised that nothing existed for this age range other than plastic toys, and it felt like we had to take up the challenge and run with it! Firefly is something very special, it’s a real car in its own right, designed, engineered and manufactured in the Midlands, Great Britain – home of the car industry. We know that youngsters will enjoy driving it and that through this they will learn about road safety, finding out about the basics of driving and gaining a better understanding of how it feels to be behind the wheel. That can only be of benefit when it comes to them being pedestrians, cyclists and future motorists out there on the roads.”
For more information about Young Driver and Firefly click here.