• Organic Transit’s ELF is a mating between a car and a bike – and some hippy magic


    elf-680
    Organic Transit’s ELF starts at $5,000 and it looks like a hell of a good idea for the right type of client. Think of the ELF as a covered, electric-augmented, three-wheeled pedal-car and you’re pretty much on target. It’s a simple machine, based on human power to be the primary motivator with a small, 750 watt electric motor.

    Maximum speed of Organic Transit’s ELF is limited to 20 mph, which keeps it classified as a bicycle under Federal law. It can carry up to 350 lbs while weighing about 150 lbs. Depending on road conditions, the driver’s weight and Ed Begley Jr – the electric range is around 20(ish) miles.

    Groovy.

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    Organic Transit’s ELF has a small 60w solar panel that can recharge the battery in about seven-hours. Plug it in to “The Man’s” system (a regular outlet) and your recharge time drops to around an hour. Or, use your muscle and recharge it as you pedal WITH solar energy. Mother nature can keep you off the grid man!

    Okay, I joke at the ELF’s expense, but I believe it’s a great idea for the right type of commuter.

    I personally know many professionals, students and a few billion people in the Far East who could use this baby. Sure, it’s primitive with no doors, windshield-wipers or ashtray, it sure beats riding a ten-speed all day. There is storage behind the seat that can hold range-extending batteries, backpacks or hacky-sacks. Organic Transit’s ELF comes with a full compliment of driving lights too.

    The ELF uses a standard 26″ mountain bike rim for each wheel and they can accommodate studded (bike) tires.

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    China, do you hear the call of the ELF?

    The poly-carbonate shell, side mirrors, solar electric assist, disc brakes, headlights, taillights, and signals come standard. According to Organic Transit: “Sound systems, phone docks, mp3 player docks, etc. will all be optional accessories.” Organic Transit’s ELF comes in White, Wasabi, Titanium and Mango.

    “The range offered by the battery depends on how and where you use your ELF. For the best performance, the pedals should be used as much as possible, particularly to build momentum from a full stop. Doing so can give you a range of 20-30 miles or more. If you use the motor exclusively, carry heavy loads, go the top speed, climb a lot of hills, etc. you may experience a significant range reduction but should still get 8-10 miles on a charge. The battery tray can accommodate two batteries for those who wish to purchase and carry a spare.” – – Organic Transit

    Organic Transit’s ELF is available now, but keep in mind that, according to Organic Transit: deliveries of the new vehicle can take 3-4 months. Delivery charge is not included and they come out of Durham, NC… I know, I thought it was Seattle, WA or California for sure.

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    “An OTV can be used just like any other bike or trike that only needs the strength in your legs to make it go. What makes it more fun and useful, however, is the electric motor that gives you a boost of power whenever you need or want it. All it takes is a simple twist of the throttle to zip up a hill or make a week’s worth of groceries in the back feel as light as a bag of takeout. You can maximize your calorie burn by just using the pedals, stay cool and comfortable by letting the motor do all the work, or any combination of the two. It’s up to you!” – – Organic Transit

    I would love to test drive one of these machines as I think there’s some serious potential here. Sure, they need to add a passenger’s seat, doors, wipers and a horn, but it’s a good start. I think the price is about 15% too high as well. It would be nice if they financed (they don’t – yet) so a college student could buy/lease one for $100 bucks per month, or something along those lines.

    Still, with my nit-picking aside, I like the groovy places an idea like this could take you.

    Speaking of electric power, check out Roman’s video review of the Tesla Model S!

    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum.  His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.

    Nathan Adlen
    Nathan Adlen
    Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.

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    7 thoughts on “Organic Transit’s ELF is a mating between a car and a bike – and some hippy magic

    1. I don’t know it seems under equipped for the price. Elio Motors is quoting $6800 for one of their three wheelers, given it remains vaporware until their stated 2014 delivery … but includes passenger seat, doors, ac, stereo, wipers, etc. Elio’ s Achilles is motorcycle safety (helmet) regulations in each state.

      1. Price point is way to high.

        Recumbent trike around $1000
        Electric assist around $1000
        Body shell around $500
        Solar panel/charger $500
        Misl. electronics maybe $500

        So maybe $3500 in parts and $1500 labor

        Get the price between $3k to $4k and ill buy one.

        1. D

          I looked into prices before I ordered my ELF and you are low balling the individual items. If you find them for that price, I suggest you get them and pay someone $1,500 to put it together for you. Most of the time, labor and materials are about equal in cost, so, even using your figures, the ELF’s price wouldn’t be too far out of line if it cost $7,000. In fact, that is about how much mine did cost! I got an extra lithium battery pack, upgraded tires, and an infinite gearing hub, over the standard three speed, plus a few other upgrades.

          As an early adopter, I know I’m paying a little more, but that means I’ll have more time to have fun with it, first.

          Because of the economy of scale and improved assembly methods, hopefully the price will drop to the level you want. I also expect improvements with time, as well. Maybe I’ll sell mine to someone that can’t afford a new one in a few years and I’ll buy the newer version, that will cost less than they do now.

    2. Cool but too expensive. I could never picture you or Roman in one of these Nathan. No ashtray for your cigar! XD

    3. I was thinking the same thing as the above post by D but on further detailed examination the ELF uses a 20 mm axle for its rear wheel like beefier cargo bikes do unlike ordinary recumbent trikes.So with the refinements I can see the added expense.By the way on the Organic Transit Kickstarter page a while back for the ELF it was only $4,000 to obtain a prototype.Since recently they have raised the price by $1,000 to $5,000.
      I don’t blame them as there are labor costs and a profit to be made.Perhaps if they became more popular,sold a lot more of them and production ramps up in the future the price could possibly drop.

      I am interested in getting an ELF someday as a car/cargo needs alternative.

      On another note this would be a great emergency vehicle in case of a national fuel shortage,high cost fuel due to future post peak oil depletion with high demand or a natural disaster where one could not even obtain fuel.If gasoline or diesel was priced at $50 to $100 per gallon at today’s cost but say hypothetically 25 years from now due to post peak oil depletion, the ELF would possibly be the king of the road with few motor vehicles owned by the very rich riding it.Hey it would be far better than a bicycle and vastly better than a destitute future citizen doomed to walking.In a way this vehicle is perhaps more crucial to future times with dwindling world fuel supplies.Just some opinions and thoughts here.

    4. The only thing the ELF and an ELIO have in common are 3 wheels. Although I am interested in the ELIO I will be taking delivery of an ELF later this month, and am not considering the ELIO at this time. I think it’s closer to the TWIKE for functionality but definitely not that fast.
      I am not a serious biker and know that my 20 mile commute is to far for me on a normal bike, but the ELF will take the tops off the hills and let me exercise during my commute.
      Regarding price: I think there the previous poster was a bit optimistic, this is not a hacked bike and motor. I started to source a recumbent e-assist bike before ordering mine and was at $4500 when I stopped an this didn’t include a weather resistant shell. Check out prices on other vellomobiles, the ELF is a good deal in comparison. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not cheap and I would like to see the price at $2000, but for what it is right now, I can swallow the $4300 (color upgrade, rear tire upgrade and front dashboard) that I’ve put down on mine without regret.

    5. The ELF is in a class by itself. You can’t compare it to a regular recumbent trike, although many of those easily breach $4,000 (before any accessories including lights). It ain’t no Elio for sure. Can’t call it a Twike either.
      It is -exactly- what it was meant to be; An exceptionally efficient, eco-friendly, relatively short-range commuter that will carry one person (like most cars do when commuting to and from work). It is equally up to the task of heading off to the store for groceries and other arrands. The value, both economically and environmentally, of such a vehicle will surely outweigh the initial cost.
      I am truly looking forward to the arrival of my new ELF and all the benefits that will follow (including losing a few inches around the middle 😉 ).

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