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.
Good luck cuzzy!