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A solar-powered electric hybrid coming to commuters soon

Posting in Cities

ELF, a pint-sized hybrid electric vehicle powered by both you and the sun, has secured enough investment to make its future a real possibility for urban commuters.

As previously reported by SmartPlanet's Tyler Falk, the hybrid vehicle runs on both solar electric and old-fashioned manual peddling. So if you're stuck for time and fancy a novel twist on cycling to work, the new design can help you shift deliveries or commute whilst keeping you fit.

The ELF is powered by a 60 watt solar panel in addition to 750 watt permanent neodymium magnet motors and a 480w lithium battery. The body, constructed by vacuum-formed Trylon, a UV resistant polycarbonate windshield and LED lighting for all the standard functions of a car -- including headlights, brake lights and indicators -- also comes with a 45 percent recycled aluminium frame, disc brakes and enough storage room to for 350lbs, or roughly eight bags of shopping.

The designers, Organic Transit, are an Durham, N.C.-based startup who propelled their idea on to the transport scene through crowdfunding website Kickstarter. They say that the vehicle can travel up to 30 miles on a single charge, and is able to reach 1800 miles for the "energy equivalent" of 1 gallon of gas.

In addition, due to its hybrid nature, the ELF is classified as a bicycle in all 50 U.S. states.

Organic Transit's CEO Rob Cotter told SmartPlanet:

"[T]here is nothing like it out there. A batch of velomobiles, some with electric assist. And there are neighborhood vehicles, none with pedal. But none are as light, as well suited for city traffic or have solar assist."

After appealing to the masses for the funding to build the first 100 models, Organic Transit has blown its own target of $100,000 out of the water this week, managing to secure $225,789. If you're looking to buy one in the future, it will set you back $3,900.

Want to see the ELF in action? Check it out below on a recent test drive:

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— By on January 14, 2013, 5:03 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure