Local Bakery Delivers on Sustainable Transportation
David Berringer, owner of Uphill Bakery in Nelson, has a new way to make bread deliveries that looks little like a car and a rides a lot like a bike.
Either way, it’s hard to miss.
Called an ELF, the three-wheeled vehicle is powered by both pedals and a 500-watt electric engine.
It also is fitted with turn signals, a horn, a solar panel and a good-sized trunk.
“It’s kind of like a recumbent bicycle”, says Beringer.
“The designers call them tadpoles, meaning there is one wheel at the back and two wheels at the front. If you have a single wheel in the front and you turn it quickly you are more likely to tip.”
Made in North Carolina by Organic Transit, the ELF sells for about $5500 US.
It can go almost 50 km/h while pedaling, has a range of about 24 km under electric power, and can haul up to 350 lbs.
“I thought my short bread delivery route would be the perfect application for an electric car.” says Berringer. “ Unfortunately, I can’t afford to be a trend-setter with a $25,000+ vehicle, so I started looking at alternatives.”
Berringer has outfitted his ELF with a custom built trailer which he will fill with baking products from his bakery business.
As the name Uphill Bakery implies, his normal route goes from high up on Richards Street to downtown, which really puts the vehicle to the test.
“I go down fully loaded… and then I have to pedal up pretty much empty.”
Without the trailer, the vehicles trunk can take the equivalent of about eight bags of groceries.
Rob Cotter, founder of Organic Transit, used to work for Porsche, BMW and Mercedes in the 1980’s before pursuing his passion for human powered vehicles.
After consulting for a bike-sharing project in New York City he became convinced there was a market for a vehicle that was a hybrid between a bike and a car.
The ELF is officially classified as an electric assisted bicycle, and can be legally operated wherever a bicycle can in Canada.