A TINY British-made all-electric roadster has been adopted by the Young Driver training scheme to give youngsters a chance to experience motoring of the future,
The Firefly Sport has been created specifically for junior drivers by a team of automotive experts based in Kenilworth, Warwickshire who have set up Young Driver Motor Cars as a sister company to the training organisation.
At 2.1 metres long the Firefly Sport is about half the size of a Ford Fiesta and the company is claiming it to be the first all-British EV.
The two-seater can accommodate children aged four to 10-years-old although it is big enough for adult drivers to get behind the wheel.
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.
The team behind the project includes Steve Rawson, formerly of Aston Martin, who has been responsible for the car's production engineering, while ex-JLR and MG engineer, Dr Ian Pogson, developed its highly adaptable powertrain. Also part of the team is ex-JLR electrical engineer Paul Adams.
The car was designed by tier-one automotive agency Puremedium who delivered the YDMC brief in a six-month time-frame.
The Firefly Sport uses two recyclable 12-volt batteries from a Bromsgrove-based supplier, powering twin 24-volt electric motors which are manufactured in Bournemouth.
Maximum speeds will vary depending on the gearbox specified, but will range from 25mph, down to 7mph for the youngest drivers.
The car 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.
Inside the open-topped two-seater - a roof is optional for all-weather use - drivers have a digital instrument pack that can be personalised on start-up with the user's name and photograph.
There are three instruments - a speedometer, clock and range indicator - as well as a reversing camera and pilot lights for indicators, headlights/tail lights etc.
"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 four 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.
"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. 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 will be available for junior drivers at 45 of Young Driver's training centres across the UK and a 15-minute test drive costs Â£20.
The car can also be purchased outright by families who have sufficient space for children to drive on private land.
Pricing will be announced at the British Motor Show on August 18 where the car has its debut and YDMC says it plans to develop the range to include variants suitable for adult use in a range of different applications.