Bridgewater College receives gift of world’s most efficient vehicle

bridgewaterIt looks like an Easter egg on wheels, but the ELF – a solar powered pedal car – gets some serious mileage (the equivalent of 1,800 miles per gallon of gasoline) and can now been seen whipping silently around the campus of Bridgewater College as it performs a number of sustainability-related tasks.

The ELF (Electric, Light, Fun) vehicle is the latest effort by Bridgewater to increase its sustainability and reduce reliance on traditional, carbon-emission technology. While the ELF can operate solely on a solar charge and has a corresponding range of about 15 miles, it can also be pedaled, which helps charge the battery and gives the vehicle a range of more than 100 miles.

Teshome Molalenge, director of the Center for Sustainability at Bridgewater, said that the primary purpose of the ELF is to reduce the college’s use of carbon-emission vehicles, but that it also has the ancillary benefit of promoting individual health. How healthy you become, he said, depends on how much you pedal. In addition, he said that the ELF can be used as a learning tool for students.

“The ELF is a key addition to our student-run recycling program,” said Molalenge. “We currently have six students who use one bike cargo and one utility cart for recycling collection efforts. The ELF will create more flexible schedules for students and improve recycling collection efforts on campus. We recently acquired electronics for recycling from our IT Center, and the ELF will come in handy to tackle this effort.”

The $6,000 ELF, which is made in the United States and has a load capacity of 150 pounds, was a gift from Sean O’Connell, a 1985 Bridgewater alumnus, and his wife, Sharon, of Alexandria, Va.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,800 undergraduate students.

 


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