Rickshaws, or cycle rickshaws, are a popular mode of human-powered transportation all around the world. The higher tech electric version of the foot-pedalled rickshaws has been gaining popularity recently, as it is an important sustainable mode of transport across developing nations. Now, London-based research and design company Solar Lab is working on a solar-powered rickshaw that will be the first human powered hybrid vehicle – combining pedal power with energy from rooftop photovoltaics.
SolarLab’s rickshaw is a response to the pollution and congestion of London. As a solution to the city’s traffic and emissions woes, their rickshaw will run mostly from power generated by photovoltaics fitted on the roof. The solar energy will produce 75% of the total power needed to drive the vehicle, while the rest will be provided by the driver’s pedal-powert. The physical effort required to drive the rickshaw will be very small.
The solar rickshaw would significantly reduce pollution and CO2 emissions in London. SolarLab estimates that each vehicle could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2 tons. And, the design of the rickshaw is modular so it can be easily converted into a load-bearing vehicle if necessary.
SolarLab’s rickshaw will be launched next year in. Based on its performance in London, the vehicle could soon be made available in other cities around the world.