Electric/pedal 'hybrid' claims highway speeds

Kronfeld Motors RAHT racer photo
Video screen capture Fair Companies

I'm a big fan of the Organic Transit ELF—a pedal electric hybrid that Lloyd believes could replace a car for a lot of people. But every time we write about it, somebody comments that it's simply too expensive and/or it shouldn't be allowed on bike lanes.

I can only imagine what people are going to say about Kronfeld Motors' RAHT racer. (For a sneak preview, head on over to YouTube to read all the meanness there.)

In the meantime, here's the basics:

—It's primarily an electric vehicle, but with a pedal function that you can use to recharge the battery (a bit!) and/or get a workout.
—Its makers claim it can hit 90 mph, and once it hits production will be highway legal.
—It has a range of 120 miles city driving, and 72 miles at highway speeds.
—It's important not to oversell the pedal aspect. Between the video below and the Kronfeld website, it seems at best it's likely to add 5-10% in terms of range if you're working hard.
—The production version will have room for a passenger and/or luggage, and significant improvements in terms of safety.
—It's currently listed at $24,000, and you can pre-order it with a $500 deposit.

Alright, let the fighting in the comments begin. But wait—before we all get into the usual "rich man's toy" versus "best idea ever" debate, let's remember something:

Just because it's not a vehicle that you would drive doesn't mean there isn't a sensible market for it. It's true that you could now get a 150-mile range, four seat electric car for not that much more. And it's also true that folks have been waiting a long time for their not-dissimilar-looking gas-powered Elios. But this is clearly being marketed to people who enjoy the experience of cycling, yet need to get places faster and/or like the idea of commuting to work and getting a workout at the same time.

And I can truly see the appeal in that.

I, for one, can't imagine myself springing for something like this. I've already established that I can get pretty far, pretty fast on a regular e-bike, and I can go far further than I ever really should have in my used Nissan Leaf.

But I do think this would be a blast to ride in. And I can think of people who would totally prefer this over either a motorcycle commute or stooping to the conventionality of a regular car.

I wish Kronfeld Motors all the luck in the world. Who knows, with rising gas prices they may not even need it.

Now, please be nice in the comments.

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