Here’s a sobering statistic: 20 percent of newly qualified drivers are involved in an accident within six months of passing their test. However, with tuition in the Young Driver program, that number drops to less than 10%.
Young Driver is the UK’s largest children’s driving school with 70 venues across the country. Kids aged 10-17 can drive the Vauxhall Corsa, but the coolest car – the new Firefly Sport EV – is reserved for kids aged 4-10.
Powered by a 12-volt battery and two 24-volt electric motors, the Firefly Sport looks like a scaled-down supercar and can reach a top speed of 25 mph. We enlisted the help of a young volunteer to bring you our first driving verdict…
In fact, my 12-year-old son Thomas is already outside the target age range for Firefly Sport. But he bravely took on the task, hopping aboard the electric sports car from Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire.
With an aluminum chassis, independent suspension, alloy wheels and rack-and-pinion steering, the Firefly aims to deliver a “real driving experience”. It can be charged via solar panels and, for nervous parents, a remote kill switch can stop the car from 200 meters away. There’s also an optional roof if the weather gets a little “British”.
Speaking of which, Firefly Sport is also a completely self-developed product. The chassis is built in Coventry, the bodywork in Huddersfield, the electric motors in Bournemouth and the batteries from Bromsgrove.
need for speed
Thomas loves the Firefly Sport’s ‘mini McLaren’ look and finds its two-seater cabin to be quite roomy, despite being designed for younger children. The big draw, though, is the flat-panel instrument cluster with digital dials, a reversing camera, music streaming and “more than 1,000 sound effects”. Take that, Tesla.
On a road-style course marked by cones, Thomas quickly mastered the Firefly’s simple controls. His initial goal was to drive as fast as possible, but soon he was using lights, stopping at intersections, reversing and driving (almost) like an adult.
“It was a really fun experience,” Thomas said after returning the £11,500 Firefly (“worth more than your car, Dad”) in one go. “Actually, it’s easy to drive a car, but it’s hard to remember all the rules of the road.”
invest in the future
Lessons on Firefly Sport cost £20 per 15 minutes and are available via Youth Drivers Site. Lessons in Corsa with a fully qualified instructor start at £40 if you have a child over the age of 10.
Speaking of the Young Drivers Initiative, fifth gear Presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson said: “I’m a big believer in driving as fast as possible. You don’t have to aim to be a driver – learning early on is a huge benefit to anyone.”
As for Thomas, he was eager to try again. If it stops him from following his father’s example – rear-ending a BMW the day after my driving test – it could be a smart investment.
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