Published on January 28th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown
Are Velomobiles the Future? The Elf Thinks So
A velomobile like a small car, but it operates like a bicycle in that it is pedal-powered. The Elf is an electric velomobile/bicycle developed by Organic Transit, which allows you to switch between 100% electric power so you can relax when tired, or 100% pedal power if you want to extend your overall range and get some exercise.
It will also allow you to choose a combination of electric and pedal power, if you, for example, don’t want to have to pedal too hard, but want at least a little exercise. It is equipped with a 480 watt battery that provides it with 30 miles of range per charge, and its top speed is limited to 20 mph.
“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. Velomobiles are much smaller than cars, but they help to bridge the gap between bicycles and cars. They offer protection from precipitation, dust, flying bugs, and other small debris which motorcycle and bicycle riders are exposed to.
Velomobiles are uncommon and, in western countries such as the U.S, even bicycles are more common. The thought of a 20 mph car sounds awful to many, but it is not a car, it is a form of bicycle (in the eyes of the law). This vehicle may enable you to travel very long distances, as you can pedal with little or no electric power, and also enjoy the 30 mile range, so there will be no range anxiety!
With more Americans opting out of driving cars, and getting onto bicycles, is there a place in our transportation map for velomobiles like the ELF?