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Toyota's newest electric car is just for the kids

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Koji Sasahara/AP

(Read caption) A visitor looks at a concept of the Camatte electric car displayed by Toyota Motor Co. for children to drive during the International Tokyo Toy Show in Tokyo Friday, June 15, 2012. Toyota thinks these concept cars may encourage a new generation of green car drivers.

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If children are the future, then how do we get them driving clean, green electric cars? 

It’s a question we’ve thought a lot about, but Toyota thinks it has come up with a solution, with a new three-seat electric concept car that your kids can drive. 

As Automotive News (subscription required) details, the tiny car was unveiled this week at the Tokyo Toy Show, and measures 106 inches long, 51 inches wide and 47 inches high.

That’s actually a little longer and wider than the road-legal 2012 Renault Twizy we tested in Ibiza earlier this year. Unlike the Twizy however, the Toyota Camatte isn’t road legal.

Powered by a lead-acid battery and small electric motor, Toyota says the Camatte can reach a top speed of 25 mph, about 20 mph faster than the toy ride-on electric cars you can buy at the local toy store and fast enough to give most parent a panic attack.

With that in mind, Toyota has thought about safety with an unusual feature that will gain it some parental approval: back-seat driver function.

If you’re able to squeeze yourself into one of the two offset rear seats behind the centrally-positioned drivers’ seat, rear-seat parental controls allow you to provide assisted braking and steering when needed. 

While the Toyota Camatte may only be a concept car at present, Toyota, like many other automakers, is seriously looking at using high-end, high-ticket toys to encourage children of more affluent patrons to stick with the brand when they are old enough to drive their own car. 

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We have to admit we like the Camatte’s retro-styled charm and zero-emissions drivetrain, but would you buy one for your kid?

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