Move Over Cozy Coupe: Tesla’s Got a Kiddie Car

Tesla partners with Radio Flyer to make a $499 Model S, and the sidewalks of Silicon Valley will never be the same

1 min read
Move Over Cozy Coupe: Tesla’s Got a Kiddie Car
Photo: Radio Flyer

Back in the ‘90s when my kids were toddlers, my Silicon Valley neighborhood had a Cozy Coupe kid-size car in every driveway. In fact, in 2009, the 30th anniversary of the Cozy Coupe’s introduction, the vehicle claimed the title of the best selling car in America, outselling the tremendously popular (adult-sized) Ford F-series pickup. Talk about a classic car!

Tesla Motors, it turns out, wants a piece of that market. The company is now accepting pre-orders for its first kiddie-car, a US $499 all-electric model designed in partnership with red-wagon maker Radio Flyer.

The basic “Tesla Model S for Kids” (couldn’t they come up with a shorter name?) has a 130-watt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, working headlights, and a sound system. It’s available in red, silver, and blue. It has a top speed of 6 mph, but parents can choose to lower the top speed to 3 mph. It holds a driver who weighs up to 81 lbs; there is no passenger seat, but there is a “frunk” (a front trunk) to hold emergency snacks and teddy bears.

Fully tricked out with all the extras, including a premium 190-Wh battery, a spare premium battery, “silver turbine wheels,” a personalized license plate, and a car cover, this mini Model S will cost more than $800. (A Cozy Coupe will set you back $49 these days)

In spite of the cost, this new electric vehicle is sure to be a huge hit in Silicon Valley—and I’m guessing I’ll see more than a few tiny Model S’s zipping around the bins of sodas and beer at block parties this summer.

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We Need More Than Just Electric Vehicles

To decarbonize road transport we need to complement EVs with bikes, rail, city planning, and alternative energy

11 min read
A worker works on the frame of a car on an assembly line.

China has more EVs than any other country—but it also gets most of its electricity from coal.

VCG/Getty Images

EVs have finally come of age. The total cost of purchasing and driving one—the cost of ownership—has fallen nearly to parity with a typical gasoline-fueled car. Scientists and engineers have extended the range of EVs by cramming ever more energy into their batteries, and vehicle-charging networks have expanded in many countries. In the United States, for example, there are more than 49,000 public charging stations, and it is now possible to drive an EV from New York to California using public charging networks.

With all this, consumers and policymakers alike are hopeful that society will soon greatly reduce its carbon emissions by replacing today’s cars with electric vehicles. Indeed, adopting electric vehicles will go a long way in helping to improve environmental outcomes. But EVs come with important weaknesses, and so people shouldn’t count on them alone to do the job, even for the transportation sector.

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