Staff, Courtesy of John Deere
Everyone’s excited about electric cars nowadays—but as far as the preteen set is concerned, the rest of us are late to the party. Battery-powered ride-on cars have been a hit with kids for a couple of decades now, and they’re only getting better with age. Whether it’s the Barbie-branded Power Wheels ride-on for young children or an electric drift kart for the more daring set, it’s safe to say that most children possess at least a passing interest in steering a powered vehicle around the driveway—or the neighborhood.
Best Electric Vehicles for children
The Expert: As an automotive journalist—my work has appeared in Haggerty Classic Cars , Road and Track , Car and Driver , and others—and one of the particular first in order to performance test the original Tesla Roadster , I have more than a decade of experience with adult-size electric cars. I’m also a parent who has bought quite the few different motorized vehicles for my child over the past twelve years, from electrical scooters plus ride-on vehicles to two-stroke competition go-karts.
What to Consider
If your kid is ready to take to the open road this spring, start shopping now for the ultimate ride-on machine. Here’s what to look for in a kids’ electric powered car.
Speed and Age Limit : Just like children, these ride-on electric cars come in the wide variety of shapes and sizes. While it can be tempting to get something a child can “grow into, ” there are serious safety risks involved along with putting your own kid on something they can’t easily control. It’s best in order to follow the manufacturer recommendations for age and weight. It’s also better to get a car that will be too slow, which will only lead to some mild frustration, rather than one that is too fast. The slowest electric car on our list doesn’t exceed 1 mph; the particular fastest tops out at 9 mph. Some cars offer multiple speeds, such as those with parental controls or that provide a reverse function.
Types of Ride-On Electric Vehicles : Kids’ ride-ons come in four flavors. “Side-by-side” cars, or even SxS, have got two seats in parallel. “ATV” (also called “four-trak”) ride-ons have the rider straddling a center seating position with a foot upon either side of the body. “UTV” are single-seat, upright-seating variants associated with side-by-sides. Motorcycles are what you’d expect, but most toddler-oriented “motorcycles” have two permanently affixed balance wheels in order to keep the machine upright.
Batteries plus Power: The majority of these vehicles are powered by rechargeable six- or 12-volt batteries that require some skill and tools to replace if they fail. The length of time they will run on a single charge varies widely, and over period all of them will lose some power. While the traditional Energy Wheels plus similar ride-on toys use an automotive-style lead-acid or AGM battery similar to what you’d find under the hood of a standard vehicle, some newer designs use advanced lithium-ion batteries that are smaller, lighter, and more powerful, but require a lot more effort to replace. If you’re looking in order to get only a year or even two of use out of your new toy , however, you probably won’t have to think too much about this.
Extra Features to Look For: Some of these ride-ons offer parental control of speed. A few offer the full-fledged remote control feature, using a video-game-style remote control . Is this really necessary with regard to low-speed electric cars? It depends on your child’s needs—and, more forthrightly, your needs. As with the adult-sized cars these people emulate, today’s ride-ons are usually increasingly likely to possess modern features like Bluetooth, USB, or AUX ports to play music. Others have flashing lights, working doors, seatbelts, or horns. Want some thing more unusual? One of the automobiles in our check has a removable Frisbee; another has twin water cannons.
How We Selected
As a parent with experience buying, using, and maintaining ride-on electrical kids’ cars, I looked for simple, fun machines from established manufacturers with a track record of safety and low recall counts. Ride-on vehicles come in a wide variety of functions, price, and speed, so I have got included both high-value plus high-feature examples. When in doubt, I gave the nod to the vehicle that just appeared more fun than its competition; isn’t that will what toys are all regarding? In a few cases, I selected a product from a new manufacturer based on consumer experiences and published reviews.