What child wouldn't love a ride-on, battery-operated toy car to tour the neighborhood or playground? Just like real automobiles, these toy vehicles come in a variety of styles, colors and models; it's hard to choose a favorite.
About Battery-Operated, Ride-On Vehicles
Ride-on vehicles powered by batteries have been all the rage for more 30 years. They came on the scene in the 1960s following the popularity of pedal cars. The original concept, which still stands today, is to build a kid-sized version of the family car or a famous car (such as the Batmobile). Over the years, the ride-on car has emerged as one of the most popular children's outdoor toys with more than 100 styles on the road including:
- Pick-up trucks
- Police cars
- Golf carts
- Fire trucks
- Construction trucks
- Race cars
- Dune buggies
- School buses
These toy cars are powered by rechargeable batteries and are made to hold one, two or more children, depending on the style. There are vehicles available for different age ranges starting at 12 months old and usually require some adult assembly , as well as supervision. The speed of the vehicle depends not only on its design, but also the size of the battery and how many motors are installed. Typical battery sizes include six, super six and 12 volts that power the vehicles from 2 miles per hour up to 5 miles per hour. The higher the voltage, the more motors the car will have and the faster it will drive. Some larger powered vehicles hold batteries up to 36 volts, but these are mainly for off-road bikes.
Realistic Standard Features
Depending on the model, ride-on, battery-operated toy cars come equipped with a single pedal operation: Step on the pedal to move and step off to slow down. The cars also have brakes, rechargeable, internally fused batteries, fan-cooled motors, and a lock on the higher speeds. Many of these vehicles have the same features as regular automobiles including:
- FM radio
- Bumper-to-bumper warranties
- Real rubber tires
- Forward and reverse motion
- Power lock breaks
Brands of Ride-On, Battery-Operated Toy Cars
Just like the automotive industry, there are a few giants in the ride-on toy car business.
Power Wheels by Fisher-Price is the largest brand name of ride-on, battery-operated toy cars in the world, selling more than one million a year. They sell small-scale versions of popular real life vehicles such as:
- Ford Mustang
- Jeep Hurricane
- Jeep Wrangler
- Cadillac Escalade EXT
- Harley-Davidson motorcycle
- Kawasaki KFX quad
- Ford F-150
- Craftsman lawn tractor
Power Wheels even created a battery-operated Lightning McQueen, from the Disney-Pixar children's movie, Cars, and sells several other character vehicles such as Barbie, Dora the Explorer and Handy Manny ride-ons.
Located in Austin, Texas, Kids Wheels offers a large line of powered riding vehicles for children of all ages including all-terrain quads and motor bikes for older children. Small-scale replicas of real world vehicles include:
- Mini Cooper
- Alfa Brera
- Mercedes SL
- Jaguar XK
- BMW Roadster
- Porsche Boxter
Don't think these cars and trucks are for boys only. Many of the models come in a variety of girlie styles and in colors such as pink and purple.
Other Brands of Powered Ride-On Toys
Other manufacturers of battery-operated ride-on toys include:
Shopping for Power Cars
Because of the high demand for this type of toy, many large retailers and toy distributors will sell it -- both online and in person. Remember, though, that these aren't cheap. Smaller models for young children start at around $50-$70, but higher end, luxury cars can run up to $1,000 or more. It all depends on what you want and how much you want to spend. Find ride-on toys at:
A Word of Caution
Children should never ride these powered vehicles alone, no matter what age. They can very easily lose control and injure themselves or another. While it is not mandatory -- although check with your state's laws -- a helmet may not be a bad idea when driving one of these cars.