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Bridgewater College Home to Most Energy-Efficient Vehicle

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

Bridgewater College has some bragging rights when it comes to sustainable transportation. The college is the only owner in the state of Virginia of the world's most energy-efficient vehicle.

The call it the ELF, which stands for “electric, light, fun.”

“She's so magnificent and she's so easy to operate. She's just beautiful,” said Teshome Molalenge, director of the Center for Sustainability.

The vehicle draws power from a variety of sources: it's topped with solar panels, the battery can be charged by pedaling, and it can be plugged into an electrical outlet.

“It gets 1800 miles to the gallon, even though technically no gallons,” said Stephen Miller, a senior student and recycling coordinator at Bridgewater College.

But is the carbon fiber, maintenance-free vehicle a bike or a car?

“It really feels like a combination of both. And I've never experienced that in a vehicle before,” Miller said.

On solar power alone the ELF can go 20 miles per hour, and about 30 if you pedal.

On the Bridgewater campus recycling coordinators like Miller cruise campus about 15 miles per hour picking up the college's recycling, which goes right in the back of the ELF. “It does look small from the outside, but this thing actually does have quite a bit of holding capacity,” Miller said.

Molalenge suggests the ELF should be the vehicle of the future.

“We're pushing to be energy-independent and secondly it provides the convenience of transportation. If you're commuting 10 miles a day, why drive a car? You can use her,” Molalenge said.

“As long as it's sunny, you can pretty much go indefinitely,” Miller said.

The ELF was made in Durham, North Carolina and cost $6,500 dollars. She was donated by a Bridgewater College alumnus.

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