Whether you are skeptical about electric vehicles or you are an owner of one looking to see how else you can decrease your carbon footprint, it may be worth your while to check out the ELF. Made by Organic Transit this 150-pound hybrid trike (bicycle with three wheels) can be powered by just you and the sun. It operates like a bicycle where you can pedal, getting as much of a workout in as you want, with an electric assist. There is 100-watt flexible solar panel on the top that is fully charged in 7 hours by sunlight, with the option to plug it in to a regular wall outlet obtaining a full charge in just 2.5 hours. This electric assisted bicycle gets the equivalent of 1800 MPG but is much safer than an average bike and more environmentally (and economically) friendly than a car.
Many of the MDEV interns have had the opportunity to test drive the ELF with the permission of local ELF owners and founders of Voltride, Allison and Mark Lucas. This past weekend we had their ELF with us at Baltimore’s Artscape festival where we attracted many interested folks with the ELF’s abstract-looking design.
This vehicle is light enough for people of a wide range of ages to drive as a main form of transportation or a secondary vehicle for local commutes. Getting up to 20mph on electric power and up to 30mph combined with pedaling, the ELF is perfect for short commutes to work, trips to the grocery store or coffee shop, or for across campus. Also, on October 1st, 2014 electric bikes become considered bicycles in Maryland under state law, so it can be driven anywhere a bicycle can. We may start to see these in our bike lanes and bike paths pretty soon.