CATS: Clean vehicle transport that’s, uh, ‘organic’?

Number 29 in the Clean Air Technologies Series.

Organic cycling

I have heard of recycling of organic matter but organic cycling? I am fast reminded of a familiar saying: “What’ll they think of next?!”

Well, what, in fact, was at one time “next” on the time continuum is what today goes by the name pedal-slash-electric vehicle. That’s correct: a pedal/electric vehicle or what the company Organic Transit designates simply as: “ELF.” So, what’s a pedal/electric vehicle?

From a Sept. 19, 2013 company press release, Organic Transit, whose primary ELF manufacturing facility is located in Durham, North Carolina, states: “The company builds the ELF, a pedal and solar electric powered vehicle, which is the cleanest, most efficient vehicle on the market.”1

The ELF being street legal, what this means is it can share roadway space with other, more conventional power vehicles, according to information outlined in the release. Moreover, whereas a driver’s license is required to drive a so-called “standard” motor vehicle in traffic in the conventional sense, the ELF doesn’t require said licensing, at least, this is what my understanding is. Not only is the ELF approved for roadway operation, it is allowed on bike paths too. In essence, ELF can be driven like an electric vehicle or ridden like a bike.

From an environmental sustainability standpoint, “The vehicle achieves the equivalent of 1,800 miles-per-gallon and prevents as much as six tons of polluting Co2 [carbon dioxide] from entering the atmosphere each year,” as noted in the press release in question.

Capable of carrying payloads of up to 350 pounds or the equivalent of eight grocery bags full and built from “recycled or recyclable materials,” these mobile devices definitely live up to the company’s mission of “‘Environmental Prosperity,’” this being: “build vehicles that reverse the damage caused by climate change, increase the health of the rider and the local community and create jobs in the Green Economy.”

And get this: even the buildings the vehicles are manufactured in are earth friendly, incorporating into said structures items like light-emitting-diode (LED) lighting, skylights, green walls, raised vegetable gardens and even bee hives. Yes, you read correctly: bee hives.

The location of the main manufacturing facility, a 7,500 square-foot structure, is in close proximity to Durham’s Central Park District. Organic Transit maintains a second facility on the west coast in San Jose, California, working in cooperation “with Good Karma Bikes, a non-profit that trains homeless individuals to become bicycle mechanics.”

Transit of this nature: What could be more “organic”?!

For more information, see:


  1. “Pedal/Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Expands North Carolina Manufacturing, Opens West Coast Facility,” Organic Transit, press release, Sept. 19, 2013, provided courtesy of Organic Transit Founder and Chief Executive Officer Rob Cotter.

– Alan Kandel

3 thoughts on “CATS: Clean vehicle transport that’s, uh, ‘organic’?”

  1. The concept of ELF is brilliant, as it focuses mainly on going green. We all know that going green and decreasing our carbon footprint is a must to save our planet. It’s wonderful that the production plant also focuses on environmental needs during the production of ELF. What I do want to know is will the Elf be economically feasible to the standard consumer, will they be able to afford this truly wonderful creation? Going green is known to be expensive in the beginning but will aid for long term saving, however the ELF can only seat one person – what will happen to families? It may not be feasible to invest in 4 or 5 of these vehicles just for one family. Will the design evolve to focus on human needs as well? The concept is remarkable and we should embrace it to move forward and create a better and healthier earth, but human needs do come into play.
    Payal (14103908)

  2. Pedal/electric vehicle will benefit our planet earth as they are absolutely wonderful and incredible machines. The use of them will save our environment as it does not use fuels instead it has a solar panel on top which recharges its battery. The fact that it does not use fuels there will be limitation of air pollution and global warming. The vehicle will have many advantages like in the economy side as people will be saving money of buying fuel. If people could consider this machine as a good vehicle our planet will be saved and we will also live in a healthier planet meaning people will not be suffering from diseases caused by air pollution.

  3. Unless you’ve actually left the confines of your one ton+, gas guzzling, 4-wheeled vehicle and switched to using this ultra-light, electric assist pedal machine (the ELF) as you primary form of transportation, then you’ll not come close to understanding the “organic” concept. As to affordability, there is an immediate saving for any two-car family – if both cars are not used for great distance commuting, say in excess of 10 miles. We sold our second car and with the funds purchased two ELF’s, putting the left-over balance in the bank. Work is 5.43 miles one way; downtown is 7.32 miles one way. With lights and traffic it takes an extra 10 minutes to make the trip downtown and only 4 minutes longer to make it to work. The solar collector (backed up with a small amount of house current) and a slightly larger serving of organic (that’s non-GMO as well) food powers the vehicles. I would easily be 25 pounds heavier without the ELF. I can now enjoy the larger daily caloric intake of my youth and not waste the time at the local fitness center (more $$ in the pocket). Studies show I have a greater chance of living longer plus keep my mental capacities longer by staying fit. So yes, there is something VERY organic about this alternative form of transportation. Once you too have experienced an ELF (or other non-one ton+ form of transportation) then and only then can you begin to grasp the significance of how important it is for use as a nation to stop this madness: soon one in three diabetic, obesity skyrocketing, followed by skyrocketing medical bills, and the list goes on. Unplug from the matrix or as my dad put it: Get your head our of your …

Comments are closed.