BY Nick Bulanda
Published January 22, 2020
?Tesla Power Wheels (Review & Buying Guide)
The Only Officially Licensed Ride On Car from Tesla
If you look hard enough when shopping around online, you may be able to find some cheaper knock-off ride on cars that resemble a Tesla, but there is only one option out there that’s the real deal. Despite the short term vernacular we’ll be using throughout this review (after all, most folks we know refer to ride on cars automatically as ‘Power Wheels’), the Tesla ride on car is not made by Power Wheels but instead by classic red wagon makers Radio Flyer. The Radio Flyer Tesla Model S is designed to be a near-exact replica of the real deal, and it may even be more similar than you think!
It’s our recommendation that if you want a Tesla, you stick with this and don’t support any knockoffs you might find, as they almost assuredly wouldn’t be coming from a reliable manufacturer. Safety is incredibly important in vehicles like these, and you want to be sure to stick with a brand you trust. Both Tesla and Radio Flyer have been in their respective businesses for a long time, and both are names that you can trust. In this post, we’ll be doing an in-depth review of the Tesla Model S Radio Flyer, giving you a breakdown of all the features you’ll find and how well it works. It’s safe to say we have a lot to say on the topic, and we think you’ll find our conclusions worth reading.
History of Battery Powered Cars for Kids
Before we dig into the features and capabilities offered by this Tesla Power Wheels, we want to spend a little bit of time talking about why these toys are so popular and great for childhood development. Ride on cars have been around for many years now, and became hugely popular over the course of the 1980’s as technology continued to advance. By the year 1990, annual sales were reaching over 1,000,000 units, making them some of the most popular toys of the era.
That popularity has continued to this very day, though it understandably has declined slightly with the advancement of so much other technology. In the era of YouTube, countless video game options, phones and more all taking the attention of children, it isn’t always easy to get them to spend some time outside, running around and having fun. The bottom line is that these toys are one of the relatively few ways to gets kids excited about outdoor physical activity these days.
In addition to that, battery-powered ride on cars are great at holding kids attention for a longer period of time. Each time they play with this toy, they’ll be having a new adventure on their own, and while they may move on from other toys after just a few days or weeks (if you’re lucky), ride on cars tend to be staples in their playtime for years.
Development Benefits of Electric Ride On Cars
Not only are these vehicles fun, but they also help your child develop important skills for later in life. One day your little one is going to start learning how to drive a real automobile, and if you’d like to give them a bit of a head start, we recommend getting them one of these toy vehicles to learn the basics. From learning how steering and acceleration work to figuring out when and where to brake, these toys are learning experiences waiting to happen.
In addition to teaching them early “motor” skills (pun intended), riding around in one of these can also do wonders for their imagination. We all should remember the time spent in our early youth playing make believe, and all we needed was a small spark to let our imaginations run wild. Well, here is a perfect spark! Your child will be off having adventures in the backyard, building important skills for later in life and having a blast. What’s not to love about these toys?
Tesla Power Wheels Review
We’ll begin with a breakdown of all the features that you’ll find on this awesome car. It’s clear right away that Radio Flyer has put a ton of attention towards recreating the look of the Tesla Model S. If you or your child is a lover of cars, there’s no doubt you (or they) will find so much appreciation for all the small details they’ve included. With a price tag as high as this, you should expect nothing less than the best, and that is exactly what you’re getting: the best.
Once you’ve spent some time admiring the exterior design, you’ll find that the ride features a roomy interior that’s large enough to avoid making your child feel squished inside. We’d say it’s sized so that kids from around the age of 3 to the age of 7 or maybe 8 should be able to enjoy it, though it does of course differ from child to child based on size. Unlike many other Power Wheels toys out there, the doors do not open on this ride, but it is still very easy to hop in and out of, and slightly improves the safety in our opinion.
This Tesla Power Wheels toy features easy-to-use forward and reverse buttons that will help your child start to grasp the fundamental basics of how gear shifting works without making it difficult for them to jump in and go. Like the real Model S, you’ll find a front trunk in this vehicle, giving your children space to store toys and other small objects they want to haul around.
It charges just like the vehicle it’s based upon as well, plugging right into the wall, or you can take the battery out and charge like a traditional Power Wheels toy as well. Speaking of the battery, the Tesla Power Wheels Model S from Radio Flyer utilizes a lithium ion battery, just as the actual vehicle does. That means it charges faster and holds its charge for longer, giving your child even more time to play and have fun without worrying about a dying battery.
You’ll also be able to help your child take their favorite music with them on the go using the available auxiliary port. With it, you can plug into a phone or MP3 player and get them set up with whatever you want them to listen to, or let them control the music themselves if they are old enough! Additional technology found on the Tesla Power Wheels includes a working horn and LED headlights, giving the child even more immersion.
When it comes to safety, the vehicle has two speed settings which give you control over how your child drives. You can lock the speed at 3 MPH, or let them take advantage of the full motor and reach up to 6 MPH. The Model S toy does not include a safety belt, which would be an issue if the doors opened, but as it is the child is secure inside the cabin itself.
The maximum speed of 6 MPH may be a bit disappointing to kids on the older end of the recommended age spectrum, and that’s why we think this is best to get this for younger kids around 3 or 4 and let them learn how to drive it and grow into it for a few years. While there are plenty of kids out there who will certainly be excited by this at age 7, they may be yearning for something with a little more kick by that age.
While not strictly part of the product itself, it is worth pointing out that there is an assortment of accessories that are available to be purchased and used alongside this toy. Online you can find a Tesla-themed car cover that fits perfectly over this little guy (or gal), a custom license plate that will let your child ride around with their name on the back, or a custom parking sign to decorate the area where you decide to keep the toy when not in use.
You can even upgrade to a more power long-range battery, but that will set you back a little bit more than you’re already paying. With everything this ride has to offer, we’re not surprised that Tesla had a hand in creating it. From the unique design to the advanced technology at work, this toy is a true masterpiece.
The Bottom Line
In our opinion, if you have room in your budget to get your child this as a gift, you really cannot do much better. It offers around four times the battery life of other ride on cars on the market, and it charges up faster, which is a huge selling point in our opinion. Its based on one of the sleekest and most stylish cars around right now, and it gets the look down to a tee. The only potential issue we can see is the lack of a safety seat belt, but with the lack of doors to open and low speed capability, your child should be quite safe. Overall, we believe this is quite possibly the best kids ride on car out there.
Battery Powered Car for Kids Buying Guide
As we mentioned at the beginning of this review, there is only one officially licensed Tesla kids electric car out there, and it can be found in a variety of places, including Amazon. We’ve gone over our thoughts on this toy, and it’s top notch. Now we want to discuss what some of your other options might be out there if the Tesla Power Wheels Model S isn’t the right choice for you, and what you should look out for while you’re shopping.
If you ask us, one of the major reasons the Model S toy stands so high above the other options (in both quality and price) is the lithium ion battery. We’ve talked a bit about why it’s so much better, and it only makes sense that it costs quite a bit more than a standard ride on car battery to produce. If you do feel the need to look at cheaper alternatives, you should try to pay attention to what is said about the battery in both product descriptions and customer reviews. You want the battery life to be as good as you can get in your price range.
Factors of Focus
When you’re shopping for battery powered ride on cars, whether online or in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, there are some features and design elements we think you should pay special attention to. First and foremost, take into consideration the safety features of the vehicle. If it features opening doors, is there a safety belt or a locking mechanism? What about speed settings? Many of the options out there feature an optional remote control setting, giving parents control over the vehicle rather than the child. Figure out what safety features will work best for your family and pick a product accordingly.
Along with safety, another important factor to keep in mind is the quality of the product, specifically when it comes to the materials used and the design. Try to find something with high-quality non-toxic plastic and metal parts. This is often a sign of higher quality, meaning the toy will last longer and work better. Additionally, and the Tesla Power Wheels toy we’re highlighting here is an excellent example, the design of the vehicle is quite important. You want something that your child will feel comfortable in, and that they feel looks cool. In our opinion, the more realistic the better, but each child may have differing opinions. Find out what they like and shop from there!
Last but not least, pay close attention to the size of the toy you’re buying. Ideally, there should be a measurement somewhere in the product description that gives you an idea of its size, as pictures can sometimes be a little misleading in that regard. Make sure you don’t purchase a toy that your child is already too big for!
Before we leave you, we wanted to talk a little bit more about why we feel so passionately about these toys. As we talked about before, it can be hard to get kids to get away from all the screens and out into the world. While we aren’t saying there’s anything wrong with some screen time, there’s no doubt that it is healthy for kids to get adequate time outside playing and socializing with other kids. With this toy vehicle, your child will be able to play with their friends and share their adventures together, rather it be in the neighborhood or driving around the camping site.
The imagination is a beautiful thing, and it’s never more powerful than it is when you’re a child. The Tesla Power Wheels and other similar vehicles are gateways into adventure for kids, enabling them to let their imaginations run wild. The model focused on today is at the very top of the scale when it comes to quality and price, but there are tons of options out there. Check out some of the other guides on our site for more information!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the seating leather, cloth or plastic on the inside?
A: The seating is a comfortable plastic, molded to ideal position for seating. While it may not offer the same comfort as leather, it keeps the already-high cost down a little bit more, and we’re confident your children won’t care too much at the end of the day. The plastic seating is perfect for their time on the go inside this Tesla.
Q: Will the auxiliary port work with an iPhone?
A: In order to use the Tesla toy’s aux port with an iPhone, you’ll need the small attachment that converts from lightning cable (standard iPhone chargers) to the auxiliary port (standard headphone ports). This attachment can be found at most major retailers that sell technology, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find though we do understand the hassle. The blame on this one falls to Apple, who changed away from the industry standard a few years back.
Q: Is there assembly required for this product or is it pre-assembled?
A: Some assembly is required, but it should only take just a few minutes of your time and little effort. You should only need basic tools that everyone should have around the house, such as a simple screwdriver. If you are having a hard time with assembly, you should be able to find a video tutorial online that will guide you along, but the included instructions will likely be enough.