The ELF – Organic Transit’s Commuting Solution
Every day, people sit in their cars while they commute to work and wonder how they’re going to fit in that extra workout this week. Or maybe they worry about the impact their long-range gasoline vehicle is having on the environment. Perhaps they bite their nails as they drive past gas stations and hope the number on the sign outside is just a mistake. Still others ignore all those problems as they happily pedal their way to work, burning brownie calories instead of petro-fuel. Unfortunately, they end up sweating like a sinner in church by the time they get there.
Organic Transit’s ELF seeks to solve these problems with the world’s first Organic Transit Vehicle, or OTV. Born in Durham, North Carolina, Organic Transit’s vehicles are part bicycle, part electric car, and 100 percent awesome. The ELF runs primarily on calories, relying on pedal power to move its 100-pound frame from place to place. The bike/trike/car/velomobile also boasts an eight-pound electric battery and solar panels to leave your car with more than just an overheated steering wheel when you leave it parked in the sun. According to their website, the ELF can completely recharge in two hours when plugged into a wall outlet, eliminating some of the problems associated with the ridiculous recharge times common in the more orthodox electric cars of today, which range on average from 12 to 15 hours.
The OTV price point starts at around $4000, which is, of course, a pretty expensive bicycle—those run from $300 to $1000 nowadays—but a beautiful bargain for a daily commuter. Not to mention that the average annual cost for a typical sedan is up to $8,946 this year, with much of that spent on fuel. The ELF will launch with a cost around $3,900 per year, less than half that of a traditional gas-guzzler. Of course, this is again a joke when compared to the annual cost of a bicycle, which runs around $300.
An OTV’s benefits seem to extend far beyond the fiscal and well into the realm of personal health and enjoyment. The vehicle is, in essence, a bicycle, so it can be ridden anywhere bicycles are allowed. Imagine taking a bike ride through the park and stopping on the way home to pick up groceries, which fit nicely in the ELF’s cargo area with its 350+ pound payload. Knocking out your cardio for the day while powering yourself home from work is a pretty great plus as well. If I rode an ELF back and forth to work every day, I calculated that I would burn around 550 calories during my daily commute alone. That’s three more brownies I am missing out on!
Organic Transit has just finished their kickstarter program, which was vastly successful and raised over double their $100,000 goal. ELF production will begin in the next few months for pledge donors, and orders are now being taken for the summer 2013 production schedule.