March 24, 2014 -- It gets the equivalent of 1,800 miles per gallon, sells for under $5,000, and carries its driver in a comfortable, enclosed cab, protected from the elements. That's the good news about the "Elf," a hybrid vehicle made by Organic Transit in Durham, N.C.
The bad news — if you're lazy — is that to go much farther than 14 miles (the range of its electric motor's battery, without recharging) you have to help it along by pedaling. Of course, that feature is a plus for owners who want exercise.
One such customer is Jerry Seinfeld.
Company founder Rob Cotter tells ABC News that Seinfeld is among the 300 customers who have bought an Elf since March when Organic Transit started producing the three-wheel hybrids.
"He just happened to stumble into our little store here in Durham," says Cotter. "He kept looking and looking at them, spent about an hour hanging out with us, telling jokes. Then he ordered a real fancy one."
Though the base price of the Elf is $4,995, a top of the line model with lots of accessories costs over $10,000.
"He rides it around the Hamptons with his kids," says Cotter of Seinfeld. "He says it's a dream come true to be able to peddle your car around."
Most sales, Cotter says, have been to greying environmentalists whose average age is 50. But commercial customers, too, have ordered Elfs.
An organic juice delivery company in Brooklyn has ordered 40, Cotter tells ABC, in part because the vehicles, which qualify as bicycles, don't have to pay the same parking fees as car or trucks.
The Elf weighs 150 pounds and has a 350 pound payload. It's top speed is 30 miles an hour. Recharging its battery from an outlet takes 30 minutes. Recharging it by sunlight, via solar cells in the Elf's roof, takes seven hours.
Coming down the road, says Cotter, is a truck version, to be called the "Ox." Its back platform will be able to accommodate a coffee-maker, an ice cream machine, or other food-prep payloads. In a pedicab configuration, it will be able to accommodate two passengers.