Profile: Between Car and Bike, a New Electric Trike

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While most of the entrepreneurs launching companies at Durham's Startup Stampede offices are building software, Rob Cotter wants to change the way transportation is done. He's working on a series of solar electric tricycles that, in his words, "fill the space between a bike and a car." Organic Transit's products are street legal and get the equivalent of 1800 miles per gallon. The base price of one of the vehicles is $3,400.

StartupNationbug.png The vehicles aren't in production yet, but Cotter said that a lot of early interest has come from businesses that want to use the trikes as delivery vehicles. He's ready to go as soon as the right investment partner turns up.

Cotter has been at alternative vehicles for a long time. 25 years ago, Cotter built a human-powered vehicle that was clocked at 62 miles per hour. (He even became vice president of the Human Powered Vehicles Association.) Now he thinks the time is finally right for his ideas to go mainstream.


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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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