The Frankenstein Vehicle That Could Transform Transportation

Part bike, part car, part solar power, part human power - the Elf is a pedal-powered mini-car that just finished a "massively successful" Kickstarter drive and could be coming to a street near you very soon.
January 22, 2013, 7am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Zak Stone profiles The Elf, a velomobile being developed by Organic Transit, that "combines the best elements of an electric car, a motorcycle, and a bicycle." 

"The design boasts a bevy of features that could have persuaded urbanists, design enthusiasts, environmentalists, and cyclists to open their wallets," explains Stone. "Like other electric bicycles, the Elf lets riders effortlessly switch between 100% pedal power, 100% motor power, or some combination of the two. 'I like to get going a little bit with the motor, and then I start pedaling, and let the pedaling takeover,' says [Alix Bowman, director of communications at Organic Transit]. Or, you might let the motor kick in if you’re headed up a hill or 'if you don’t want to arrive looking like you just biked there,' she adds.

"While the pedals work just like any old bike, the motor is activated by a hand throttle similar to a motorcycle. And it runs on a 480-watt lithium battery that recharges quickly--in two hours when detached and plugged in to the wall--or slowly, over the course of the day when left in the sun, thanks to the Elf’s roof-mounted solar panels."

After a successful Kickstarter run that drew $225,789 - more than twice its goal of $100,000 - the promising hybrid vehicle will begin shipping to backers who gave more than $4,000 in March.

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Published on Thursday, January 17, 2013 in Fast Company Co.Exist
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