Young Driver Motor Cars – a sister company to Young Driver, the world’s largest under-17s driving school – is launching the Firefly Sport, an all-British electric car that aims to fuel children’s interest in cars and driving from an early age.
The Firefly Sport will receive its official debut at this week’s British Motor Show, which opens on August 18th, and aims to educate young drivers about road safety and how future motor vehicles can be an environmental force for good.
Young Driver Motor Cars will start production of the Firefly Sport model, a 2.1 metre-long car that can accommodate children aged 4- to 10-years-old (and even adult drivers), this month. The model will use only UK-sourced components for series-build cars, including their batteries and electric motors.
Pooling expertise from around the UK’s motor industry, YDMC’s Firefly Sport is built on a state-of-the-art aluminium chassis with all-round independent suspension and rack and pinion steering, offering young drivers an authentic taste of how a road car looks, handles and performs.
“Firefly Sport is a fully-fledged, scaled-down motor car,” said Ian Mulingani, YDMC’s managing director.
“From its launch this month it will allow 4- to 10-year-olds the chance to get behind the wheel and have an authentic motoring experience, thanks to this model’s sophisticated design and componentry, which fundamentally mirror the way a road car behaves, but at fully manageable speeds.
“Being electric and looking like a junior supercar, it also aligns with the type of vehicle that children see themselves driving when they pass their test. And it’s precisely this kind of engagement we need at our Young Driver training centres to start them on a journey towards improved road safety – and ultimately, preventing unnecessary road deaths.”
Steve Rawson, formerly of Aston Martin, has been responsible for the Firefly Sport’s production engineering, while ex-JLR and MG engineer, Dr. Ian Pogson, developed its adaptable powertrain.
The Firefly Sport aims to fuel children’s interest in electric cars from an early age.
“We’re also proud that Firefly Sport will be this country’s first all-British electric vehicle, when you take into account not only where it’s manufactured, and the team responsible for its creation, but also that its components are sourced from here, too,” Mulingani continued.
“The body comes from Huddersfield, the chassis is from Coventry, and the motors and batteries are from suppliers in Bournemouth and Bromsgrove. If you think about how the UK’s motor industry is moving towards greater autonomy with parts-sourcing, we’re definitely ahead of the curve!”
The Firefly Sport uses two recyclable 12-volt batteries from a Bromsgrove-based supplier, powering twin 24-volt electric motors manufactured in Bournemouth. Maximum speeds will vary depending on the gearbox specified, but will range from 25mph, down to 7mph for the youngest drivers. However, Firefly Sport also has a remote cut-off facility with a 200-metre range, as well as an automatic cut-off if it senses obstacles in its path, making it ultra-safe for first-time drivers.
And while the Firefly Sport will be available for 4- to 10-year-old drivers at 45 of Young Driver’s training centres across the UK (£20 for a 15-minute test drive), it can also be purchased outright by families who have sufficient space for children to drive the car on private land. Young drivers wishing to book an early test drive in the Firefly Sport can go to: www.youngdriver.com.
Pricing will be announced at the British Motor Show on August 18th, and the car can be specified in a wide range of colours, with plenty of options to choose from. The car can be charged using solar power, while its battery’s cells are bolted in, making them easy to remove and recycle.