At this time of year you’ll find a whole bunch of elves running around, tying up parcels and helping out in the frozen North. But one elf you’ll find in warmer climes has very little to do with children’s toys and everything to do with making transport a more ecologically friendly affair.
The Elf Organic Transit Vehicle is a solar powered electric transporter which combines the best of traditional recumbent bicycles with some of the comfort features of a small city car. Because of legal requirements they have a top speed of 20 mph (which means they’re classified as a bicycle which anyone can use), and a full 2 hour recharge will deliver a range of around 30 miles, depending on how much you’re willing to contribute by pedaling. The more you pedal instead of using the electric motor, the further you’ll go. The solar panel on the roof acts as a trickle charger to also help extend the range.
The Elf will also carry around a regular sized driver and either a passenger in a rear ‘jump seat’ or up to 300 pounds of additional cargo. There’s also a specific local city truck version in development which will come complete with shelving and space for urban freight work. At the moment the project is still in crowdfunding mode, having reached its target, but the plan is to deliver the first units in March 2013. The retail price for a basic configuration Elf will be $3900, although we’re not clear whether that includes doors and a floor or not.
As far as we can see this product has two things going for it. One, it acknowledges the fact that electric vehicles have to be a reasonable price in order to attract buyers, and two it is designed to do one job, which is act as a city runabout, not a highway traveler. It will be interesting to see how the team get on once full production is underway.