Epic journey for solar tuk-tuk

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IOL mot jul18 tuktuk . Naveen Rabelli plans to drive his self-built solar tuk-tuk from Bangalore, India, to London, England.

Bangalore, India - What could possibly possess you to drive a tuk-tuk (otherwise known as an auto-rickshaw) from India all the way to the UK?

In the case of Naveen Rabelli, who built his solar-powered tuk-tuk himself, the arduous journey is aimed at creating awareness around sustainable and low-cost alternative transport solutions.

The plan is to travel about 10 000km from Bangalore to London, traversing 10 countries in the process, on solar power and electricity alone.

The zero-emission tuk-tuk should cover 100km a day, with the target being 100 days for the trip.

Rabelli’s wheels, which he’s named the “Tejas” (the Sanskrit word for radiance), took two years to create and started life as a diesel Piaggio Ape.

The final product can tuk-along for 80km after eight hours of charge, with another 25km of range added through five hours of rooftop solar-panel exposure to sunlight. Top speed is quoted as 45km/h, but average speed is estimated at around the 35km/h mark.

Rabelli will travel through India, Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, Germany and France and finally board a ferry to England. He hopes the project, which has already cost around 60 grand, will serve as a study around hybrid mobility while also showcasing a two-passenger Indian prototype that is both reliable and feasible.

The trip will be documented by an Austrian film-maker for later distribution and will include seminars and collaborating with universities and government organisations along the way.

“If the tuk-tuk can be modified in a way that it uses more renewable energy at an affordable price, we can have a smaller carbon footprint,” concluded Rabelli.

No firm launch date for the project has been established, with Rabelli still raising the final funding necessary for the trip.

But you can keep an eye on www.solartuktuk.com or its Facebook Page for regular updates.

Good luck cuzzy!

Mercury Motoring

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