Frequently Asked Questions about The ELF
Welcome to the FAQ page. We are now taking orders for the first post-Kickstarter production run of vehicles. The most commonly asked questions are answered below.
Frequently asked questions
Have questions about the ELF and Organic Transit? If you don’t find your answer, ask us at Sales@organictransit.com
How well does it perform on hills?
The ELF is designed to handle hills. The controller is programmed for high torque and the motor is geared low to maximize climbing ability. Fitness of the rider is also a factor. We’ve climbed numerous hills in San Francisco faster than we would with a conventional bicycle and with enough reserve to do it multiple times. The pedal gearing can be optimized by using a larger or smaller rear cog on the right side of the rear hub. Any competant bike shop can do this easily for you.
How old do I need to be to drive it?
There is no federal legal age requirement, but some states and municipalities do have minimum age requirements for electric assisted bikes. Riders are ultimately responsible for researching and obeying the laws in their own locales. We recommend that you be tall enough to reach the pedals, strong enough to maintain control of the vehicle, and mature enough to operate it safely and responsibly.
In some areas, bicycle helmets may be required for riders under a certain age.
Do I need a license?
According to US Federal standards, the ELF is legally classified as bicycle and is subject to the same laws and regulations. We are not aware of any current laws that require licenses for cyclists, but some states do have age restrictions for electric assisted bikes. A handful of states classify the ELF as a moped and consequently do have licensing requirements for riders. ELF riders are ultimately responsible for researching and obeying the laws in their own locales.
Where is it legal to ride an OTV?
The ELF can be used anywhere it is legal and safe to ride a bicycle: bike paths, bike lanes, roads with a decent shoulder, and roads with slower moving traffic.
How easy is it to repair? Can I do most things myself or will I need a trained mechanic?
A competent bike mechanic should have the skills necessary to accomplish most repairs. A mechanic with e-bike experience should be very capable. We are building a network of bicycle mechanics that are qualified to work on the ELF. If you are handy and experienced with tools, much of the maintenance can be done at home. We will soon be posting videos to assist with common repairs.
Does it come fully assembled or do I have to put it together? Can I just buy a kit?
The ELF is shipped fully assembled. Each ELF goes through an extensive Quality Assurance process ridden for miles and returned for analysis and readjusted accordingly.
I live where there is a lot of snow and ice....... are studded tires an option?
Sure thing! Studded tires are a great option . The vehicles uses standard 26″ and 24″ tires. The front fenders can accommodate up to a 2″ wide tire and the rear comes with a 2.5″ tire.
Can you extend the range by adding more batteries?
Yes. Some customers have quadrupled the basic battery pack.
What is the range of the battery?
With the basic battery pack, tests have shown a 170 lb. rider with light hills, modest sunlight, travelling at 15 mph can travel 14 miles with NO PEDALING at 75 degrees Fahrenheit. With pedaling some ELF riders have gone 30 miles. Additional battery packs will increase the range.
How long does the battery take to recharge?
The basic battery pack can recharge in as quickly as 1.5 hours with regular household current. The basic charger takes about 4 hours.
The standard 60w solar panel on the roof acts as a trickle charger when the vehicle is parked outside, with recharge time dependent on available sun.
Do the vehicles have regenerative braking?
The ELF is designed for extreme efficiency. Regenerative braking is not available on this generation of vehicles. If the ELF weighed more and required a larger battery pack, regenerative braking would be more beneficial. We are working on a regenerative system for the future but for now, ELF owners will be happy to know they’re riding the most efficient vehicle commercially available.
What is “electric assist”? Can I switch between pedaling and motoring easily?
An ELF can be used just like any other bike or trike that only needs the strength in your legs to make it go. What makes it more fun and useful, however, is the electric motor that gives you a boost of power whenever you need or want it. All it takes is a simple twist of the throttle to zip up a hill or make a week’s worth of groceries in the back feel as light as a bag of takeout. You can maximize your calorie burn by just using the pedals, stay cool and comfortable by letting the motor do all the work, or any combination of the two. It’s up to you!
How do I stop someone from stealing it? Does it lock?
The ELF can be secured with a chain or u-lock attached to the wheel and frame in a number of locations. The motor requires a key that can be removed when the vehicle is parked. We also have a custom ELF security wrap designed by a company that makes light aircraft covers. The protective wrap secures under the ELF, can be locked to the rear wheel, and features a clear pane that allows the solar panel to function properly with the cover in place.
Where do I put my stuff?
The ELF features a rear cargo area that can be accessed from inside or through the hatchback. Inside the hatchback features a rear cargo deck, a locking trunk like, a glove box and two extra large cargo buckets. These are water tight, durable and removable. You can carry groceries, laundry, a party’s worth of ice or a load of live bait fish. A total of 8 bags of groceries can be carried just in the back. There are also hooks to hang cloth grocery bags. There is also an optional front cargo deck and bamboo storage slelves that can increase capacity. Many ELF owners design their own methods of carrying specific cargo.
How fast do they go?
According to federal guidelines, the top allowable speed using the electric motor only is 20 mph on a flat surface. ELF owners can travel faster by pedaling, some can get up to 30 mph. The ELF is designed for use under 30 mph. Many states have their own regulations that vary from the federal standards, and we encourage you to research the rules in your own area.
Is there financing available?
Not at the moment, but we are working on it.
Does it have windshield wipers?
The ELF is designed to shed rain water so at low speeds, windshield wipers in most cases aren’t really necessary. There may be optional wipers in the future.
Are they really legal in all 50 states?
We are designing a vehicle that is classified as a bicycle under the federal guidelines listed in 15 U.S.C. 2085(b) which state that they must have a 750w or smaller motor, and have a top speed of 20 mph when driven by a 170 pound rider on electric power only.
Now, some states and municipalities have created their own rules and regulations that govern electric assisted bikes and other e-vehicles that exceed the federal guidelines. As a manufacturer selling products across state lines, we obey the feds. It is up to you to read up on your own local regulations and determine if the ELF is likely to attract the wrong kind of attention on the streets in your town. Wikipedia provides a handy starting point: Electric bicycle laws
Not happy with the laws in your neck of the woods? Then advocate to revise them! Remember, regulations are not set in stone, but takes effort to make a change. The world will be a much safer, greener, place if more bikes and vehicles like ours fill the transportation space. To find a bike advocacy group in your area that can help make your voice heard, check out this list: US bicycle advocacy groups
Can you ship to the EU and other international destinations?
We have shipped vehicles to Australia, UK and the EU but it’s not simple. The freight is costly and takes a while but we’re willing to work with you. Our plans are to be building ELFs in all regions where they’re being sold.
Top Secret New Stuff
We’ve been busy in the ELF workshop, behind Santa’s back! Coming soon……rear disc brake, super fat rear tire, optional doors, rear jump seat, hemp seat covers, front suspension, wireless front/rear camera, 8 speed SRAM rear hub, 11 speed electronic shifting, integrated navigation/charge state app. We’d tell you more, but we like to keep a few surprises to ourselves…we’re funny that way.
ELF specific questions
Is there room for a passenger?
We currently do not offer a child carrier seat. Some owners and bike shops have made simple modifications to carry child seats.
Can it accommodate a trailer?
We have plans to make a trailer hitch available, but this feature will not be available on the initial run of vehicles. We are leaving the tail a little longer to allow users to attache their own hitches.
Will there be apps available for the ELF?
Yes! We are partnering with Sky Highways to create an app for the ELF that will help find bike routes, calculate mileage, track battery power, and more.
Does the ELF have a radio/sound system?
Sound systems, phone docks, mp3 player docks, etc. will all be optional accessories.
Does the ELF have a floor?
The ELF does not currently have a floor, nor is it necessary to keep the rider dry thanks to the fenders and shell.
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 and stayed quite dry. The open doors also provide an aerodynamic advantage regarding side winds. Great visibility, too!Nevertheless, we do plan to make doors available as accessories for riders in more inclement weather.
What colors are available?
The ELF is currently available in white, mango, or wasabi green. The ELF is well suited to customization with vinyl decals. New colors coming soon. Just let us know what your favorite color would be….
What are the dimensions of the ELF?
With the rear wheel and fender in place, the ELF is 105″ long x 48″ wide x 5′ tall. You can get a good idea of how it compares to other vehicles by watching the videos. The ELF can comfortably fit in many bike lanes.
I'm relatively tall/short. Can the seat be adjusted?
The current seat configuration can be adjusted to accommodate riders between 5’2″ and 6’6″. Additional customization may be required to accommodate those shorter or taller, but it’s not impossible.
What size are the tires? Are they easy to change?
All of the wheels are relatively standard bicycle tires. The front wheel does not even need to be removed to repair a flat! The rear wheel is a bolted on, has an internal hub with an extra chain, so no derailleur to mess with. It does have a heavy duty tire and tube to minimize the risk of punctures.
How much weight can the ELF carry?
The ELF can carry a payload of 350 lbs. This includes the rider.
How much does the ELF weigh?
The ELF weighs about 150 lbs. depending on how it is outfitted.
TruckIt specific questions
When will the TruckIt be available?
We expect to have prototypes of the TruckIt in Spring 2014. If you are interested in receiving TruckIt specific email updates, you can sign up for them.
How much weight can the Truckit carry?
The Truckit is designed to be a utility vehicle suitable for light delivery and other urban applications. It is capable of carrying 500-800 pounds of cargo depending on the configuration of drive train and battery.