North Carolina-based Organic Transit has begun production of ELF, a hybrid three-wheeled vehicle that can be powered either by pedaling or by a 480-watt battery that gets its energy from solar panels installed on the top. The first models are going out to the project backers, who helped raise 225 percent of the initial $100,000 asked for in a Kickstarter campaign last November. The base model goes for $4,000, and at current production rates, the company says that an ELF ordered now could be on the road by this summer.
What’s the Big Idea?
The ELF can travel up to 30 miles, at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, on a single battery charge alone, which classifies it as a bicycle according to federal guidelines. It fits comfortably inside a bike lane, yet it has headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and other items commonly found on a car. The company’s Web site says it represents the best of both worlds: “Stay fresh for work by using the electric motor on your morning commute…Skip the gym and still find time for a daily workout as you pedal home.”