A new means of transport needs a new name. ELF is a “ velomobile” , a combination of bicycle and automobile powered with solar energy and good old pedaling force is raising funds via KickStarter. At the time of writing the project had raised US$26,397 out of the targeted US$100,000. The deadline is January 13.
Organic Transit pitches it as an urban, high visibility vehicle that fits in standard bike lanes. The lithium battery pack can be recharged using the rooftop solar panels or by plugging in to a standard outlet. The tadpole configuration of the three wheels is designed to offer stability and control.
To add an extra layer of social responsibility to the project, the developers say they employ local manufacturers to produce their original designs to specifications.
They are collaborating with industry experts to streamline the assembly process and their goal is to create a small scale production facility capable of producing 1,000 units a month they say can be easily replicated in cities across the globe.
The specs below give a better idea of what ELF can do. Hopefully we’ll be seeing ELFs across the country, carrying people around without producing any emissions, thanks to solar power (and leg power).
• Solar and pedal — two unlimited resources derived from the sun and you.
• 60 watt solar panel (standard, upgrades available)
• 750 watt permanent neodymium magnet motors
• 88.8 volt lithium battery
• CVT drivetrain (continuously variable transmission)
• Vacuum formed Trylon (composite of 85% recycled ABS and Solarcote)
• Windshield made from UV resistant polycarbonate
• LED lighting including headlights, brake lights, markers, and turn signals
• 45% recycled aluminum
• 26″ high volume wheels front and rear with 20mm through axles and 36 spokes
• Disc brakes
• Coroplast wheel covers
• Storage compartment with room for eight bags of groceries/350lbs cargo
• 1800 MPGe (gets 1800 miles for the energy equivalent of 1 gallon of gas)
• 30 mile range with each 8 pound battery pack
• Potential to mitigate 28,000 lbs of CO2 per year per unit
• Classified as a bicycle in all 50 states
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.