The car that runs on sunshine and sweat (BBC)
In a perfect world, someone would invent a small personal vehicle that runs on nothing but sunshine and calories and carries a week's worth of groceries, for good measure.
Dont look now, but its already here. The Elf, manufactured by Organic Transit, based in the US state of North Carolina, is the brainchild of inventor Rob Cotter, Organic Transits founder and chief executive officer. And it evokes nothing less than the love child of a recumbent tricycle and a Messerschmitt bubble car.
The Elfs car DNA is visible in features such as its tadpole-like polycarbonate shell, which shields riders from the elements and abetted by LED headlamps, taillamps and turn indicators makes the impish vehicle more visible on roads than a traditional two-wheeler. Its bike pedigree shows up in its control scheme; its narrow front wheels, equipped with disc brakes, are steered and stopped by hand grips rather than a car-style steering wheel and brake pedal.
Equipped with a standard three-speed internal-hub transmission or an optional NuVinci continuously variable planetary transmission, the Elf moves by pedal and/or electric power; its one-horsepower electric motor is powered by a lithium iron phosphate battery pack, which is fed by a 100-watt rooftop solar panel. The pack takes seven hours to charge by sunlight or 1½ hours when plugged into a standard household outlet.
Speeding tickets likely wont be an issue. The Elf tops out at 20mph on electric power alone, 30mph with pedals pumping. Ideally suited to quick urban jaunts, the Elf is less useful for long-range travel, unless you happen to be an ultra-marathoner. Its motor-only cruising range is a modest 18 miles, although pedalling can bump range to as much as 40 miles.
An enclosed electric moped, more or less ...
I think they'd be smart to name it something a bit less hippy/nerdy than "Elf."
You can just see the reaction. "ha,ha, look at the crunchy hippy and his ellllf."
Now that I have that out of my system, it looks pretty cool.