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Organic Transit's ELF Vehicle: The Future of Transportation or a Fad?

Updated on September 26, 2017

An Interesting Looking Vehicle That Always Draws Attention!

An interesting looking vehicle for sure! With one wheel in the back and two in front, this vehicle can either be pedaled, run with an electric motor that lasts about two hours, or can be used by combining battery power and pedaling.
An interesting looking vehicle for sure! With one wheel in the back and two in front, this vehicle can either be pedaled, run with an electric motor that lasts about two hours, or can be used by combining battery power and pedaling. | Source

A Hybrid Vehicle Combining Benefits of Bicycling With An Added Battery Solar Assist Feature

The new ELF vehicle, which combines the benefits of bicycling with the convenient ability to use battery operated assist features for help with hills and tough terrain can either be considered simply a fad, or it could turn out to be a new wave of the future. It definitely offers a cleaner, more green option in commuter transportation. It's hard to tell exactly what it will be in the future. But right now it is very fascinating.

In fact, wherever an ELF vehicle makes an appearance, it seems to draw a curious audience of onlookers, wondering first of all what it is, and secondly if they can give it a try!

The ELF is built by Organic Transit in Durham, North Carolina, and is now available to order for about $5,000. The ELF vehicle is an interesting concept vehicle that, if it were to be used by many people, could be a viable alternative to fossil fuel burning vehicles that are so popular now for commuting.

A Pretty Neat Looking Vehicle

Futuristic-looking and can handle any type of terrain a bicycle can! Also perfect for commuting on roads.
Futuristic-looking and can handle any type of terrain a bicycle can! Also perfect for commuting on roads. | Source

It Is Up to the Driver How to Use the ELF

It is entirely up to the driver how they want to use the new ELF transit vehicle. In a typical morning commute, many people want to get to work fresh, without looking as though they've just had a physical workout. These people may choose to use the ELF's solar battery power electric assist to ride in comfort all the way to work. Then after work, pedaling the ELF can provide a good cardio workout and help to relieve stress and tension from a busy workday.

The ELF vehicle can also be used in a way that combines pedal power with electric assist. When you come to a tough hill or terrain where you might struggle with a bicycle, the electric assist can help to provide that extra boost needed. These vehicles have a polycarbonate shell that surrounds the driver, keeping them safe from weather elements. There is also a spacious interior with disc brakes.

Other nice features include headlights, a horn, signal lights and tail lights, making a person more visible and noticeable to other drivers on the road. Side mirrors are great for watching out for other drivers as well. Basically, the ELF can go any place a bicycle can, so for commuters who drive on roads that allow bicycles, like on town streets with lower speed limits, the ELF might be a very viable alternative. Commutes requiring freeway driving would still have to be taken in a traditional car, through shared carpool options or bus travel.

Since the ELF vehicle falls into the same class as bicycles, it does not require drivers to have insurance, road inspections or separate registration of the vehicle. Riders can get all the great benefits of riding a bicycle, and still be able to do things like shop while using an ELF vehicle. There is enough cargo space for several average size bags of groceries. Passengers cannot be carried yet, but that may come at some point in the future.

An Interesting And Informative Video ~

Vehicle Benefits And Specifications

Some of the ELF vehicle's best benefits are:

  • The ELF can be ridden about 1,800 miles on just ONE gallon of gas. Imagine the savings of fossil fuels if even 1/3 to 1/2 of commuters could make the switch to the ELF!
  • There wouldn't be nearly as many CO2 emissions with ELF vehicles, helping to possibly impact the greenhouse gas effects on the environment.
  • Electric assist allows the driver to decide how much energy they want to expend each day using the ELF.
  • Drivers could potentially see savings in the thousands by using the ELF for just some of their routine driving. Even if it is only used to and from work, it could mean a huge difference in the cost of commuting.
  • ELF costs only about $5,000 now, depending on limited options to choose from, like an extra battery for the vehicle. Drivers also save on insurance, registration and of course, fuel costs.


  1. The ELF vehicle measures about 8 feet long, 5 feet high and about 3 feet wide.
  2. Top speed reached, when power assist is used alone, is about 20 mph to 30 mph.
  3. The ELF is categorized as a solar battery assisted, motorized bicycle in most places.
  4. Weight is about 130 pounds, including the solar panel, the battery and the vehicle's motor.
  5. The battery takes about 7 hours to recharge in sunlight.
  6. If electric plug in power is used to charge the ELF, it can be charged in about 2 hours.
  7. The body of the ELF is made from mostly recycled plastic, making it lightweight.
  8. The frame is made from at least 45 percent recycled aluminum.
  9. The battery can take most people an average of 30 miles on solo battery power. Commuters can go farther, however, if they use a combination of pedal power and battery power.
  10. There is a 60-watt solar panel on the ELF vehicle's roof that is used to constantly and slowly charge the battery, which is composed of lithium iron phosphate.
  11. Drivers can also choose the option of a second battery, which adds to the cost of the vehicle, but for drivers who wish to drive longer distances, it can be worthwhile to choose this upgrade.

Lightweight Vehicle With Benefits For Drivers And For The Environment

The benefits are many for both drivers and for the environment. The ELF vehicle is durable and lightweight.
The benefits are many for both drivers and for the environment. The ELF vehicle is durable and lightweight. | Source

Driver Qualifications Can Vary, So It Pays To Check Specific Requirements For Your Area

The specifications for driver's who would like to buy and drive an ELF vehicle vary between states. In most states, it is classified as a motorized trike, or in the bicycle classification. There are some exceptions, however.

  1. In Maryland, driver's must be 16 years of age to operate an ELF vehicle, since it is categorized in the Moped class of vehicles. Drivers must also get a title for the ELF, special insurance and registration. In addition, driver's must wear a helmet.
  2. In Washington D.C., the ELF is considered to be a motorized bicycle. This means it must have a special license, registration and it must have an inspection. In addition, driver's must be 18 years of age to operate an ELF. My first thought when I saw this was, leave it to Washington D.C. to complicate matters!
  3. In most places, however, driver's only need to be 14 years of age to drive the ELF on city streets.

I Think the ELF Vehicle Would Work Great In Some Places

I think the ELF vehicle would be a viable mode of transportation in some places, but not in all places in the United States. I know that here in Las Vegas, where I live, it may work if you can get to your job by using all side streets where there is a separate lane specifically for bicycles and buses. I think would be pretty dangerous to ride one of these vehicles on some of the roads in Las Vegas, though.

Many roads here are six to eight lanes wide, with speeds of 45 mph as an average speed limit. In places that have roads with slower speed limits, I think the ELF could potentially be a great option.

The ELF can generally go about 20 mph when the driver is using the motor. My guess is that there are not many people who can peddle much faster than 20 mph either. I'm referring to the average bicycle rider, the casual rider who does it only occasionally for a little bit of exercise. I know that bicycle racers go faster, but the average commuter won't be going very fast when they are doing mostly peddling to get there.

I think that for people who are looking for an alternate means of transportation, especially for their daily commute, the ELF could be a definite option. It would work well in places that don't experience bad road conditions due to severe winter weather. Even during warmer months in those places, it could very well save commuters money on gas and other expenses.

It remains to be seen whether the ELF organic transit solution vehicle is going to be a real future option, or whether it will be a fad that comes and goes. Most people who have driven one have had nothing but praise for the vehicle's handling and driver friendly amenities. Even though it may be a little bit confusing to look at in the beginning, I think driver's could potentially get used to sharing the road with ELF vehicles. What do you think? Let me know in the poll and in the comments below!

Could The ELF Organic Transit Vehicle Be A Viable Commuter Vehicle?

Would Driving The ELF Organic Transit Vehicle Work Where You Live?

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