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Rob Cotter has celebrated pedal power for a long time: He was vice president of the International Human Powered Vehicle Association, and an organizer of the American Solar Cup, the first sun-powered race in the U.S. Now, as the CEO of Organic Transit (and with the help of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign), he’s making the ELF, a curious solar-powered hybrid halfway between an electric bicycle and a battery car.
The ELF costs $5,000, and (with a composite body and polycarbonate windshield) weighs just 130 pounds. Like certain mopeds, you pedal it to get started, then twist the handlebar for electric assist. Some 20 mph is possible; 30 if you pedal a lot. Range is 20 miles, more if you carry optional extra batteries (as Stewart does). The rooftop solar panel can charge the ELF in something like seven hours, but the battery is removable and can charge from house current in anything from one to six hours (depending on the amperage of your charger).
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