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Organic Transit ELF

organic transit 1Not all that far from where I live, a small group of people are building innovative solar/pedal powered velomobile trikes  in a former furniture warehouse in downtown Durham, North Carolina. I have been meaning to discuss the Organic Transit ELF for a while now, but it is one of the many posts that I just never got around to writing. Now is as good a time as any to mention it though. They have a campaign on Kickstarter that ends in a couple of days, and the page is full of great information about the vehicles, their design and development, and how they are made (also check out the video on the page for an overview of the ELF).

As I mention this made in the USA eco-friendly vehicle, I am looking out my hotel window in Shanghai, a city where cars and trucks are increasing doing work that was done by human power not all that many years ago.  Car use in China is still growing at an incredible rate, but hopefully we have already started passing peak car use in the United States and are staring to see a real change in attitudes about personal transportation.  I would love to see hybrid electric/ human powered vehicles like the ELF play a significant role in that inevitable change. I don’t have time to elaborate today, but I will get into my thoughts on this design, and the vehicle category in general, in a future post. Hopefully I will get a chance to go up to Durham and check out the Organic Transit vehicles in person some time soon as well.

While I am posting, I want to remind you that the deadline for the ISUDA Bike Share Design Competition is tomorrow,  Friday, June 11th. If you haven’t submitted an entry yet, it’s time to get it finalized and emailed to I will be traveling home from Asia most of the day tomorrow, so it will be a few days before I can collect all the entries and review them with the other judges. We are really looking forwarding to discussing all the concepts though.



Posted in Commuter, Concept, E-bike, Events.

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20 Responses

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  1. Amoeba says

    This looks like an updated version of the Mochet Velocar. Albeit different materials, with inboard wheels, and a more stylish design.
    Horrendous frontal area, and looks very cold in Winter. Also needs mudguards / fenders, unless I’ve missed something. Otherwise not bad. I like the ride height.

    • Barry says

      The design does keep the rider dry with the current fender design. They also have optional doors and, as they take it further out of beta design they are adding optional equipment such as a heater for those colder days. I really like where they are going with this pedal/electric/solar vehicle.

  2. angela smith says

    I love the elf but I would be interested in having doors put onto it and also a heater My main interest is how do I go about purchasing this vehicle. Please let me know as soon as possible

    • James Thomas says

      Angela, you can order one here, or contact the company directly if you have questions.

    • Barry Wight says

      Angela – I am not affiliated with the ELF (but would like to be!!), just a guy who likes the concept. You can order directly via their (Organic Transit) website:

      The following is taken from the FAQ section of their website:
      Why doesn’t the ELF have doors?

      The open design of the ELF helps preserve the sense of joy and freedom that is inherent in riding a bike while still offering a good deal of protection from the elements. We have ridden around in the rain several times and stayed quite dry.Nevertheless, we do plan to make doors available as accessories for riders in more inclement weather. There is also an optional heater in the pipeline.

      I hope this helps & good luck!

    • Leon says

      I’m looking to purchase an Elf also but can’t find out where to buy one. Can you tell me where? Send to thanks

  3. Gloria says

    I watched the clip from the inside of the Elf and I was a little concerned about the view being obscured by the frame on the sides? I wish the front was all window or the frame thinned out on the sides allowing more view for the rider and it would probably make it less claustrophobic perhaps?

    • Bob says


      I test-drove (rode?) the ELF recently (Spring, 2014). Here are some of my experiences, related to your questions…

      The cockpit roof was quite tall with headroom above and 360 degrees around my head. The seat was comfortably wide, and there was plenty of elbow-room even if the doors were installed.

      The front view obstructed by the frame was noticeable at first, to the point I found myself sitting more forward in the seat as normally intended (like driving a car in sudden, violent weather). After a few starts, stops and turns, I learned (as we all learn to adjust to new environments) that the view out the doors aided my FORWARD view, and soon the front frame and body were not a focus of concern.

      Being a regular bicycle commuter, I found myself using hand signals out the door… forgetting to use the turn signals mounted on the handlebar grips… but soon, I learned to use the turn signal as intended.

      The view “over the hood” is not obstructed like the video seems to show. Although I could not see the front of the vehicle, I had a view of the road directly in front of the ELF. The seat is adjustable with a Teflon guide riding on the aluminum frame (much like a drawer in a dresser) to get a more forward position and steeper view over the front.

      I am effected by tight spaces. The ELF had no claustrophobic effect on me.

      I know my reply is more than a year after your question, but I just got my first taste/test of the ELF.

  4. Brian Kilby says

    would like a price list-thanks

  5. Fred Ochs says

    I’m in north central Wisconsin and use my bicycle to commute to work daily. the ride is up and down some fairly steep hills and often time into a 20 to 30 mile head wind, rarely is the wind at my back. The doors sound good for rain and snow, maybe a canvas door that could be stowed in the ELF when not needed. I’m getting older (70′s) so the 3 wheels is more stable. do you think the ELF would work up here? Fred

  6. gretel schuck says

    What happened to the “truck-it”-I have a small business and that would be perfect-Thanks

  7. Tom Crosby says

    My wife and I have had a tandem, side by side, recumbent Ricksycle, manufactured in Kerwood Ontario, for a couple years and have loved it. The ELF car has similarities but adds the benefit of battery assist, weather covering, and solar power to name a few. Is there any plan to make a tandem, or 2 seater, ELF? I often ride the ricksycle by myself. it can travel just as fast with one rider, and the extra seat (plus it’s own pedals) is useful for cargo or passenger. It also can travel on a 48 in wide sidewalk, so I believe a 2-seater ELF would be just a little wider than a one-seater. We are about to move to Toronto and could sure use a couple of these.

  8. Sy Ellringer says

    can I get one of these in Thailand

  9. Debra Crider says

    If I buy one of the bike car, how would I keep it
    from being stolen?

    • Amoeba says

      “If I buy one of the bike car, how would I keep it from being stolen?”

      My recommendation is to register your bike car, just like any bicycle, mark it clearly as registered (often security stickers are supplied when a bicycle is registered), use an insurance grade lock (use it to lock to an immovable object), possibly fit a satellite tracking device (they’re not very expensive and getting cheaper all the time) and get it insured (inexpensive).

      This deters theft, makes theft difficult, makes the tracing of a stolen bicycle easy, and replaces the bicycle if the worst occurs.

      I hope that helps.

  10. Peter Gallant says

    I would love to stop in at your location in Durham at the end of Nov. Are you still seeking investors? I am imagining the ELF has a future on this warming planet as critical as any technology out there. Thanks for your good work.

  11. (ms.) parrish rhodes says

    I find this very exciting!! Can you track down the gentleman in Asheville, NC., who bought one, and give him my e-mail address? I’d love to see it, talk to him about it, and see if it’s suitable for me – I’m elderly, wobbly, and think this might be perfect for getting to the grocery stores, etc. – but I can’t find this gentleman – very frustrating!

    • (ms.) parrish rhodes says

      He found me! Hot diggety!! p.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. Bike to the Future with the Organic Transit ELF « JCTdesign linked to this post on April 22, 2014

    […] a solution with design and engineering. Organic Transit is a company that I have admired since first hearing about them a couple of years ago, and I have continued to follow their innovative work in the field of human/solar powered personal […]

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