Wind turbine blows Speed Racer around the track

Toy electric car from Tamiya teaches children to recharge using wind energy.

The Loopwing Wind Power Generator Set is recommended for ages 15 and older. Tamiya America

Toys are truly a reflection of the time in which they are sold. This new car set from Tamiya has only been around for a short while, and it's already temporarily out of stock. (No worries; Tamiya America says it plans to get more in.)

Instead of a crank or bite-size fuel cell to make your little Speed Racer run, this $67 model kit comes with its own miniature wind turbine.

You don't have to live in Colorado for the wind turbine to work. Specially shaped blades and different gears allow the turbine to turn from the slightest breeze. The stand doubles as a handle, so kids can also run with the turbine to create their own wind (and tire themselves out from exercise).

For every one to two minutes the car spends parked recharging its battery at the wind turbine station, the car gets about 5 to 10 minutes of play time. That may not sound like a lot, but consider kids' short attention spans and that recharging is part of the play. The increments probably work out just fine.

It's recommended for ages 15 and older, but that seems mainly because it's an assembly kit. Once assembled by the cool aunt or uncle who gave it to them, it seems like any 7-year-old could easily play with it.

Tamiya America
About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet,, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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