Toyota’s Kid Car Is Too Cool for Grade School

This burly little thing is the Toyota Camatte Hajime. It’s built for children, and it’s basically the fully functional car you wished for as a kid when you realized how slow your Power Wheels was. At the Tokyo Toy Show, Toyota showed it off as part of a really nifty virtual car system that makes us wish we were seven again.

The Hajime is the sixth kiddie vehicle in Toyota’s Camatte lineup, a series of concept vehicles built just for kids. The three-seat electric mini-machines have removable body panels held on by twist-fasteners, with a central driving position for youngsters and outboard seats that let a grownup ride along (and perhaps grab the wheel when needed).

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Hajimi means “beginning” in Japanese, and Toyota’s virtual setup at the Tokyo Toy Show demonstrates how kids could customize the wee vehicle to their hearts’ content. Show visitors can use a virtual setup to swap 13 different bodies onto the Camatte, including a police car, fire truck, ambulance, and a truly whimsical hot dog truck.

Sadly, the Camatte is just a concept, and we’ll never get to putter around the streets in a tyke-sized hot dog truck. But we’ve got to applaud Toyota for daydreaming up a concept specifically built to foster automotive enthusiasm and tinkering capabilities in the next generation. With Kettcars seemingly on the verge of extinction, we’ve got to have some sort of backup to teach kids the joys of driving.

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