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Firefly Sport brings driving experiences to four-to 10-year-olds.

By Maxine Ashford | August 30, 2022


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Young Driver has been delivering driving lessons to children since 2009 in a bid to make future generations of youngsters safer on our roads.

Firefly Sport brings driving experiences to four-to 10-year-olds.

Young driver has been delivering driving lessons to children since 2009 in a bid to make future generations of youngsters safer on our roads. 

There are 70 venues across the UK and children ages from 10 to 17 can gain tuition from fully qualified instructors inside duel-controlled vehicles, giving them a practical head start before taking their test. 

But Young Driver has almost become a victim of its own success with something in the region of a million lessons to date. so many children turned up at the venues with younger brothers or sisters in tow, and they were not happy that they would have to wait a few more years before they could join in the fun. 

Therefore, with so much demand from parents and mainly younger children who wanted to have lessons, the organisers have not only developed a plan to teach youngsters ages from four to 10. But they have also developed a specialist car for the project from the ground up. 

It's called the Firefly Sport and its popularity is booming with lots of interest for left hand drive versions from the US and the Middle East. And the really good news is it's a British project through and through with all the parts sourced, developed and built in the UK. 

Young Driver Motor Cars (YDMC) has been created as a sister company to Young Driver and it will have full responsibility for the car, and production has already started on the vehicles which will be priced at about £11k. 

By pooling expertise from around the UK's motor industry, YDMC's Firefly Sport is built on a state-of-the-art aluminum chassis with all-round independent suspension and rack and pinion steering. This offers youngsters a truly authentic taste of how a road car looks, handles and performs. 

Experts behind the great-looking model include Steve Rawson, formerly of Aston Martin, who has been responsible for Firefly Sport's production engineering, while ex-JLR and MG engineer, Dr Ian Pogson, developed its highly adaptable powertrain. And the Firefly Sport's rakish and exotic-looking body was the work of tier-one automotive agency, Puremedium design. 

There's no denying the fact the Firefly Sport is a great looking piece of kit. So where did the design idea stem from? 

We caught up with Ian Mulingani, YDMC's and Young Driver managing director, at the British Motor Show, and he explained: "I actually interviews a bunch of four to 10-year-olds in our boardroom which was a quite chaotic experience. I asked what shape they wanted thinking they may say DB5 or Bentley Convertible, but they all wanted a Tesla or BMW i8.

"So, I thought we can't realistically build a Tesla or i8. But they wanted the future and we just knew we has to design something that looks like a car for the future."

And so, the Firefly Sport was born. It is just 2.1-metres in length making it
 And all safety aspects are covered for added peace of mind.

Ian said: "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.

"The Firefly Sport is actually going into production properly in October so people will be able to sign up for lessons are conducted at the same location for convenience, they take place in a separate arena for safety reasons."

Regarding the technical stuff, the Firefly Sport uses two, class-leading, cleverly packaged and recyclable 12-volt batteries from a Bromsgrove-based supplier, powering twin 24-volt electric motors which are manufactured in Bournemouth. 

moving inside the open-topped two-seater (a roof is optional for all-weather use), drivers are presented with a digital instrument pack that can be personalised on start-up with the user's name and photograph. 

There are three instruments in the curved display- a speedometer, clock and range indicator - as well as a reversing camera and pilot lights for indicators, headlight and tall lights etc. And there will even be an option to connect to Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto.

YDMC has the facilities to make about two cars per week and anticipates building about 100 units in the first year of development. The vehicle can be charged via solar panels or by using a standard three-pin plug which takes about five hours to fully boost the battery. 

And with its scalable platform, it will be possible to increase the size of the Firefly sport to suit adults, although it will never be a viable road car. Instead, it will be ideal for private venues and events, similar to a buggy. 

And while Firefly Sport will be available for four 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. 

Somehow a birthday party with a bouncy castle will be so old school. All the littl'uns will want a Firefly Sport party!

Anyone wishing to book an early test drive in a Firefly Sport will be able to view dates and venues at www.youngdriver.com

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