PHOTO CAPTION: Elf computer renderings. Tricycle would be human and electric-assist powered.

Kickstarter Helps Launch 'Future of Transportation'?

Elf electric-assist tricycle can carry up to 350 pounds of cargo and is powered by both the driver and an electric motor running off a 480-watt lithium battert, with a range of up to 30 miles.

Published: 19-Jan-2013

It’s part bike, part car, part solar power, part human power. And--thanks in part to a massively successful Kickstarter drive that ended this week--it’s headed to a street near you.

The Elf is what’s called a velomobile, a pedal-powered mini-car, typically in the design of a recumbent tricycle with a shell over it to protect you from the elements. While they’re fairly popular for commuting and biking with cargo in bike-obsessed parts of the world like Northern Europe, if you haven’t heard of them yet, don’t sweat it.

“The U.S. market is really unaware of this type of vehicle--of velomobiles--and we are kind of bringing it to the masses,” explains Alix Bowman, director of communications at Organic Transit, the startup behind The Elf. The novelty--combined with the high price of gas, and need for more diverse solutions to environmentally friendly commuting--made the


ELF solar-electric trike

363 kg ELF will cost $3,900 and is designed for pollution-free delivery in urban centers.

Organic Transit's human-hybrid tricycle. Photo credit:Indy Week

Tiny human-electric hybrid vehicles can be both pedaled and powered by solar-charged electric motor.

Mark Steward pauses briefly in his 1,200 mile trip back home. Photo credit: NPR.

As Mark Stewart pedals his solar-hybrid tricycle from Durham, NC, the home of Organic Transit, back to his home in Cambridge, MASS, he's generating a lot of positive media attention.


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