A quick update on our Elf friend courtesy of an article today in the Triangle Business Journal. I should say friends, as after six months, Organic Transit has just delivered its 200th solar-powered car-bicycle called the Elf and has passed $1 million in sales. Organic Transit will be profitable once they hit the 300th vehicle.That is a lot of elves to play with. For more on the Elf, please click on the attached post entitled “This Elf is not impish, it is solar-powered” from March, 2013: https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/this-elf-is-not-impish-it-is-solar-powered/ .
North Carolina based Organic Transit started in Durham, which is part of three cities that form corners of Research Triangle Park (Raleigh and Chapel Hill are the other two). The Triangle was designed around innovation and research. The company announced it is opening up a manufacturing center in San Jose, California after six months of business. They have raised over $1 million in investment funding and plan to open up five more facilities in the next 18 months including branching out into Europe. They noted San Jose as the logical next city, as it is the electric car mecca in the US.
It is ironic that San Jose is the electric car mecca and next move for Organic Transit, as GM had a pilot program in California on its EV-1 back in the early 2000s and pulled the plug (pun intended) on it even though it was more successful than planned. The drivers (who were not permitted to own the cars and had to lease them) wanted to buy the cars, but GM would not sell them to the drivers even after much pleading. GM took them back and did something unheard of – they shredded them. One Board member asked management why as he thought electric cars were the future, but was told Americans want Hummers and GM opened up that plant instead. If I remember correctly, Hummers did not do well after the initial sugar rush died and the government had to make a small loan to GM to keep them afloat. I have said before, GM could have owned the electric car market by now, but that is another story.
Getting back to the Elf, this is a cool idea and sells to people who don’t need a big vehicle to get around with. I applaud the innovation. That is what makes American hum along. And, the humming will be the pedaling of tires when the solar power wanes. Well done, Organic Transit!