Are you looking for an affordable electric car for your child? We tested the most popular models on the market.
We tested all electric cars on asphalt, grass and gravel. We measured how long it took to assemble the car, how much power it had on different surfaces, how safe it was to drive and the functions included.
As well as performance testing the electric cars, we also carried out a long-term test by having our test families run the electric cars for a period of several months. The families then gave us feedback and this has been taken into account in our assessment.
In our assessment, we have focused on the following aspects:
How long can you drive the electric car before it needs charging? What surfaces can the electric car be driven over without a reduction in performance? How fast does the electric car go?
Does the electric car have a safety belt? Is the child protected as they drive the car? Is there a risk that the electric car will overturn during use? Is it possible to use a remote control to activate the emergency brake if the child is in a dangerous situation? Can the child access the battery while the electric car is charging?
How quick and easy is it to assemble the electric car? Are the user instructions easy to follow? What’s the build quality like in the different parts? How stable and well balanced is the electric car when it's being driven?
We have also analysed a number of other points such as noise level, charging time and functions such as a music player, speed control etc. Taken together, these aspects give a picture of whether the electric car is good value for money. This affordability is then reflected in the score.
We have tested a selection of the market's most popular electric cars for children. Compare prices for all listed electric cars on PriceRunner.
Tough and well equipped with good storage
Model: Sports car Age: 3-6 years Speed: Forwards: up to 4.2 km/h (1 mode) Music player: Yes Dimensions (LxWxH): 108x63x47 cm Measured assembly time: 25 min Measured driving time with 1 child in the car: 60 min Motor: 2*20W Battery: 1x12V Miscellaneous: Working doors, soft start, AUX & USB to stereo, remote control, safety belt, lighting, storage space
The Nordic Roll Sport is a powerful electric car in a fun design that also has a small storage space where the child can store toys while they’re using the car – or you can store the charger, remote control and manual when the car isn't being used. This is a cool extra feature that will quickly be appreciated by both large and small.
This electric car is definitely powerful compared to both the price and the competition. It has no problems getting up hills. Despite the fact that it's being driven by a 4-year-old, it’s able to manage starting on a small hill without showing any signs of struggling. The car can cope with gravel, grass and asphalt surfaces. It also has a soft start function, so it never starts with a jerk.
The main problem with the car is that it’s quite compact. It's primarily suitable for the slightly younger child, around 2-6 years of age. If you have younger children you’ll also appreciate the remote control that means you can help your child while they're driving.
What you perhaps won’t like quite so much – but your child will probably love – is the built-in music player. It includes a range of stories and music.
Assembling the Nordic Roll Sport is relatively easy. Apart from the initial stage, where you have to install two support wheels, there are very few, simple phases. The difficult thing about installing the support wheels is that you have to screw through a plastic part, and this is fiddly because it’s a long way inside the car and you can't really see where the screw’s going. Half of the assembly time is taken up by this, and with a better design the assembly would only have taken 15 minutes.
The manual doesn’t help at all, because you simply can’t work out what the images are depicting. But fortunately there are very few parts and it's fairly self-evident where and how they need to be positioned. This means that it's still a relatively simple installation process.
Because the car is relatively cheap, it has a plastic seat, plastic wheels and so on. But for a budget product it’s still well equipped. We've already mentioned the music player, remote control and storage. In addition to this, it also has a safety belt, attractive and sufficiently powerful lighting and a horn.
This electric car is suitable for anyone with children of pre-school age who’s looking for a small, compact but still strong and well-equipped electric car.
Attractive brand car ideal for a single driver
Model: 4x4 Age: 3-7 years Speed: Forwards: up to 6 km/h (3 modes) Music player: Yes Dimensions (LxWxH): 128x71x70 cm Stated driving time: 40 min Measured driving time with 1 child in the car: 65 min Motor: 2*35W Battery: 1x12V Miscellaneous: Leather seat, working doors, AUX & USB to stereo, built-in music player, remote control, lighting, real paint
The Volvo XC90 Inscription is a cool brand car that feels well-built and well designed in many ways. With working doors, leather seats, patterned panels and a gear stick for controlling drive, parking and reverse, it exudes a premium feel, particularly given the great lustre in the paint.
As a child’s car, it's spacious. But in this price class, we'd expect space for two children, and if you’re going to compromise on that the electric car needs to be otherwise superb. This one is good, but not so amazing we can understand why Volvo have economised by constructing it so that there isn’t room for two children.
Other than the electric car itself, the package includes a remote control and an AUX cable. The car has a built-in music player that contains both music and stories.
The XC90 Inscription comes with three speed modes, but unfortunately these can only be controlled remotely. Inside the car, the child can only choose to drive forwards or backwards.
The lights on the front give this electric car an extra premium feel.
Copes with all surfaces going forwards The Volvo XC90 Inscription is a relatively powerful electric car as long as it's moving forwards. It can cope with starting on slight uphill slopes on a gravel surface, but it’s obviously an effort and we aren’t enormously impressed compared to other cars we've tested that cost less – despite two 35 watt motors.
The car is also a bit underpowered on hills if it’s on a surface other than asphalt. It really doesn't have to be much of a slope before the car starts working really hard, and it quite easily starts to spin its wheels instead.
The XC90 can cope with grass and asphalt. The tyres have a reasonable pattern, which gives a passable grip on these surfaces. Comes almost assembled
Assembling the XC90 is a very simple process. There are very few parts to put together and they fit well. But the manual is written in terrible English, words are missing in some places and it isn't in the right order. Some steps are completely missed out, so you have to work these out yourself. Despite this, it only took 40 minutes to assemble the car because it was relatively self-explanatory how all the pieces should go together.
Because the price of this electric car puts it in the premium category, we had relatively high expectations. The XC90 fulfils these on several levels, but the manufacturer has also compromised on points where you'd expect more – above all space and performance.
But it's by no means a bad electric car. If you're looking for a premium class brand car, this is one of the better ones on the market: attractive and well equipped.
Easy to drive 4x4 for one child
Model: 4x4 Age: 3-7 years Speed: Forwards: up to 4.2 km/h (1 mode) Music player: Yes Dimensions (LxWxH): 110x70x53 cm Measured assembly time: 20 min Motor: 2x20W Battery: 1x12V Miscellaneous: Working doors, AUX & USB to stereo, remote control, safety belt
The Nordic Roll Rover (BH-118A) is a compact 4x4 with a strong motor for the price tag. This electric car has no problems with grass, gravel or asphalt. It can also cope with a hill start with a four-year-old driving without being obviously affected.
This is primarily an electric car for the slightly younger child, as it’s rather cramped inside. The 4x4 style would normally imply ‘large car’, but that’s not the case here. The higher end of the recommended age range is a bit optimistic. But if you have a child of about 4-5 years who’ll be driving it on their own, there's absolutely no problem with space. Younger children can drive it too, and it includes a remote control so you can intervene if necessary.
There's also a safety belt, which makes driving safer for young children, who otherwise tend to climb around on the car.
The car is relatively well equipped. It has lighting, a music player and a pretty good range of music and stories, together with a start-up sound meant to replicate a powerful engine.
Our testers appreciated the fake GPS map – it's actually just a picture stuck to the dashboard – and the working doors, but would have preferred to be able to adjust the speed. When you get towards the top of the budget class, we think there should be speed control inside the car.
The installation process is very easy. The manual leaves a good bit to be desired, but there are so few parts and the positioning of these is so obvious that it’s quick to assembly anyway – about 20 minutes.
The thing that takes the longest to install are the support wheels. We don't really understand why these are necessary, as they don't touch the ground when the car is moving. Perhaps they're to hold the car up if an older child is driving.
The raised collar at the back – which is just a design feature – adds a sporty touch. However, it doesn't fit the rest of the construction very well, so it's difficult to get it into place so that it stays put. Otherwise, the rest of the parts fit together well.
This is an electric car that’s ideal for anyone with just one child and who’s looking for a strong 4x4-style electric car without having to pay extra for performance.
Powerful and fun tractor with trailer
Model: Tractor with trailer Age: 3-8 years Speed: Forwards: up to 7km/h (2 modes) Music player: FM radio Dimensions (LxWxH): 169.5x63x68 cm Stated driving time: 40 min Measured driving time with 1 child in the car: 60 min Miscellaneous: Adjustable seat
The John Deere Ground Force 12V is a powerful electric tractor with a trailer, and can be driven at two different speeds and also in reverse. It's powerful running both forwards and backwards, and it can cope with quite steep slopes and a range of different surfaces. We tested it on grass, gravel and asphalt without any problems.
Unfortunately, however, the power isn't always applied in the most useful way. This is primarily a result of the wheels, which are made of hard plastic and tend to skid on grassy slopes. A better grip would have made the driving experience phenomenal – as it stands, it's “only” very good.
The build quality is generally quite plasticky, but that's not exactly unique to this electric vehicle. However, given the price tag this is a premium model, so we'd have preferred the parts to be a bit more stable, and the parts could have fitted together better.
This together with very poor instructions mean that assembly takes up to two hours. That's a really long time for an electric vehicle with so few parts. It requires far too many different methods, special tools, screws and so on. Here the manufacturer needs to take a lesson from the manufacturers of garden machinery and vacuum cleaners, who use a lot of click-in functionality.
Once you've assembled the tractor, it doesn’t take long for the child to learn how to use it. It's essentially only possible to go backwards or forwards, so it isn't very complicated. Unfortunately there's no safety belt, and the child is sitting quite high up. The accelerator pedal should also have been positioned differently. Several times during testing, a child steps on the accelerator as they’re climbing off, which means they instead fall off the vehicle.
The battery takes about a night to recharge fully and the driving time is really good. According to the user manual, it's 40 minutes, but we get it to last an hour without any problems.
This vehicle is fast, powerful and has a really eye catching design. If you feel it's too fast, you can set it so the child can only use first gear and reverse.
Some electric cars come with a remote control so you can take control yourself while the child is driving. Not this one. This is a disadvantage for anyone living in a busier area or whose child hasn’t yet learned to drive on their own.
It also feels rather old-fashioned to only have an FM radio as the music player, given the price. We'd also have liked it to have a horn. The major advantage of the Ground Force, other than the power and the battery life, is that it includes a trailer. The trailer is a big plus, because the child can put things in it and drive them round. The performance, the trailer and the attractive tractor design are the best things about this electric car. It’s also well balanced.
If you're looking for a fast, cool electric car without modern features and can cope with a fiddly assembly process, this is a good buy, particularly for children older than 4 years of age. The powerful motor also means that it works well in a more uneven garden or if you have a gravel path.
Compact jeep with built-in music
Model: Jeep Age: 3-9 years Speed: Forwards: up to 6 km/h (2 modes) Music player: Yes Dimensions (LxWxH): 110x64x77 cm Measured assembly time: 115 min Stated driving time: 120 min Motor: 45W Battery: 2x12V Miscellaneous: Soft start, lighting, safety belt, USB & AUX to stereo, horn
The Nordic Roll Champion 12V is a compact little jeep that holds two children despite its small format. However, it's best if you only have one child playing with it at a time.
One of the most popular functions with our testers is the built-in tunes that the child can change between by pressing on the steering wheel. Our testers often sat stationary in the electric car, not driving it, simply to listen to and browse through the music – it doesn't consist of particularly well known tunes, or have very good sound quality, but they liked the fact that there were lots of tunes.
The installation process is rather frustrating. The images in the manual are very low resolution, so it's hard to see details, and there isn't an overview image where you can see all the parts and their names, which would have made it easier to distinguish one from the other. Once you've assembled the electric car, you realise that the process was actually quite simple, and that it would have taken half the time with a better manual. As it stands, it takes about two hours, which is very poor.
You can control the electric car yourself using a remote control. This means that even children younger than three years of age can use it under adult supervision, while also making it feel safer to use in a built-up area with real cars nearby.
This electric car has lots of frills and copes easily with being driven on a lawn with one child in. It's also fine on gravel and asphalt. It's quite powerful and runs for a long time.
But the big problem with it is the build quality. It becomes clear during the assembly process that it's a budget model in terms of very thin plastic parts. You have to be very careful when you're assembling it to make sure you don’t break things.
And the low build quality also becomes apparent when you’re putting the electric car away. When you hold parts of it, they come undone or deform.
Children aren't very careful when they're playing with an electric car, so this means there's a major risk the electric car will break. The price doesn't really match the experience on this point.
This electric car is suitable for anyone with a child who's careful with their toys and who also wants a powerful jeep style car with fun music, a horn and a remote control. The compromise is the build quality.
The Champion is most suitable for children in the lower pre-school age group, largely as a result of its size. But it also runs quite fast when you put it on maximum speed so even slightly older children – up to around 7 years of age – can have fun with it.
To find out which electric car is best for your child, you first need to consider your budget. We've divided the test into three price classes which largely mirror those in the shops:
Budget: Up to £200 Medium: £200-£350 Premium: Over £350
Then you need to think about your needs. Will there be two children in the car, or only one? Do you want it to be able to play music? Do you want to be able to control it remotely yourself? (Often useful if a younger child will be using it.) What types of surface will it be used on? Is it simple asphalt or tougher gravel or grass?
When you know what needs it must fulfil, it's easier to sort out what's on offer.
If you're buying an electric car for an older child, it should also cope with higher loads. So check the recommended age range for the electric cars you're considering.
There are also many different brands of electric car. They’re usually divided up into licensed brand cars, such as Volvo XC90, Mercedes, Mini Cooper and BMW, and models that don't represent an authentic car brand but may have the same or similar specifications to those just mentioned.
And of course there are also different models – everything from convertibles to special models such as tractors. Often it all depends what kind of appearance the child wants for their electric car.
When it comes to functions, there are lots of things to choose from. The higher end models have a soft start, which means the vehicle doesn't jerk when it starts, rubberised tyres and details such as working doors, a Bluetooth connection for music and so on. But even cheaper electric cars often have one or two of these more luxurious features. Although this is often at the expense of something else. So it’s important to list which functions you really want to make sure you choose the model that's most suitable for your child.
If you'd like to read a more in-depth guide to electric cars for children, check out our full buying guide.
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