Tesla kiddie model offered for $499

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Radio Flyer has made a scaled-down version of the Tesla to give kids a preview of their driving future. (KABC)

The sleek Tesla Model S has been a must-have car for many, but its $70,000 to over $100,000 price tag is beyond most budgets.

Same goes for the newer Tesla Model X SUV. Fully loaded, it can cost upwards of $150,000.

Of course there's the upcoming Model 3, the more affordable Tesla with a projected base price of around $35,000.

That's still a lot of money compared to the new Tesla debuting this weekend at the Tesla store in Newport Beach's Fashion Island shopping center.

It's a scaled-down Tesla just for kids, electric-powered, with a base price of $499.

"I adore it! I wish I'd had something like this when I was a kid so that I could have driven my dream car," said Tesla Model S owner Marlene Burns when she saw some kids taking test drives in front of the Tesla store.

The sidewalk supercar is built by Radio Flyer, famous for making red wagons for kids for many years. And like every other Tesla ever made, it's electric. It delivers up to three hours of use on a single charge with the optional high-performance battery.

Lots of details are part of the smaller Tesla, and it's equipped with lots of things the full-size Model S has. For example, a kid can store things in the "frunk," what Tesla calls the front trunk on their cars.

A switch at the rear controls a speed setting, a tribute to the way the optional "Ludicrous Mode" functions on the Model S and Model X to increase acceleration. It basically means that the top speed of the kiddie car increases from 3 mph to 6 mph.

In true Tesla fashion, you custom order each car for delivery sometime in July. The online configurator lets you choose body color, wheel color, and whether you want the upgraded battery. There are also accessories like a dust cover, an easily swapped spare battery, a custom license plate, and a custom "Tesla Parking Only" sign with a child's name.

Choose every option and accessory, and you can drive the price up to over $800, before shipping costs.

The young test drivers zipping around the walkways of Fashion Island seemed to be having a ball. But if they're like many kids, they look forward to the day they can take the real thing for a real drive on a real street. Probably very smart thinking on Tesla's part.
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