Riding a bike to work is great exercise, while driving ensures a perspiration-free commute.
But what if you want the best of both worlds?
With a vehicle called the ELF, you may have that option.
Produced in Durham, N.C., by Organic Transit, the ELF is a cross between a bicycle and a car. It has three wheels, pedals, a solar panel, an enclosed cab, a carrier in the back and runs on a rechargeable battery. It does not use gasoline.
Most drivers pedal it the majority of time and use the engine to help with hills and when carrying heavy loads, said Rob Cotter, the ELF's creator.
Organic Transit completed its first full year of ELF production this March. There are now more than 300 ELFs on the road, and the company can already a boast a very high-profile driver: comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who purchased his vehicle last summer.
The ELF, which meets the federal definition of a low-speed electronic bicycle, can be used in most of the places where you would take a traditional bicycle, such as designated bike lanes, although regulations vary by state. Organic Transit doesn't recommend riders take it on highways or busy, narrow roads.
And, like when riding a bike, you do have to be mindful of the elements.
Ellen Cassilly, an architect in Durham who drives her ELF to work once or twice a week, says extreme weather can prove challenging.
"I did get caught once in a rip-roaring thunderstorm," she said. "I pulled into a street where I knew a bunch of people," who invited her in to wait out the storm.
A standard ELF has a battery that can go for about 14 miles without pedaling and without being recharged, according to Cotter. An ELF with an upgraded battery can go roughly 40 miles. The ELF battery is recharged by the solar panel and can also be plugged into a regular home outlet. Pedaling does not charge the battery although that will be an option on future models.
It's not as pricey as a new sedan, but an ELF will cost you quite a bit more than a typical bike. A base model costs a little more than $5,000 and an upgraded version can run as much as $10,000.
While it may cost more, drivers accustomed to riding bikes may appreciate their newfound status on the road.
"When I'm riding in the ELF (cars) go all the way over in the other lane and give me lots of space," said Sarah Howe, a potter who uses her ELF to carry her work to and from Durham's farmers market.
Cars try to squeeze by too closely when she is on a bike, she said.
Cotter, who spent much of his career working in the car industry, conceived the idea for the ELF while consulting on a bike sharing program for New York City. He wanted to produce a vehicle that was environmentally friendly and realized motorists would be more likely to use a bike if it included some of the features of an automobile, such as the ability to carry groceries.
Although some people have attached child carriers in the back, the ELF currently seats only one passenger. Organic Transit plans to develop a multipassenger car that can go on highways, but for now, Cotter said the ELF is happily occupying the space between car and bike.
The ELF may not replace cars or even bicycles anytime soon as a primary means of transportation. But Cotter said it can provide mobility for seniors or people with disabilities.
"People come back in tears and say, 'I haven't been able to ride a bike in 40 years,'" Cotter said.