The solar-powered bike-car thingy we’ve all been waiting for

Scott Huler in Scientific American:

TruckitYou want to see my next vehicle? I’m going to get a TruckIt, a tiny little recumbent-bicycle deal with an electric motor — it’s called a velomobile, if you want to know. It costs $5,500, recharges its battery with its own rooftop solar panels, can legally take you on the road, on the sidewalk,* and on greenway trails, and has a 30-mile-per-charge range. Then you can either rely on those solar panels or you can take the little battery out and plug it in. And though it’s designed to carry me and up to 800 pounds of payload (guitar, amp, and groupie?), I can retrofit a little jumpseat so I can just haul around the groupie if I need to. You can read all about it in this story by the News & Observer of Raleigh.

And hokey smokes, it’s made right here in the U.S.A., by Organic Transit, in a renovated furniture warehouse in downtown Durham, NC.

The thing — and the Elf, its more carlike little sister — is limited to 20 mph on pure electricity (to remain classified as a bicycle), but it can take you up and down hills with or without your pedaling. Every New Urbanist, transit focused downtown renovation should all but give these things away for free. If you live and work in a walkable downtown that lacks — as so many do — a grocery store, instead of needing a second car, all you’ve done is given purpose to your workout. “Going out for a ride, dear — got that grocery list?”

More here.