There’s nothing quite like sitting for hours every day in traffic-congested streets to make you want to get away in a pollution-free vehicle. That’s exactly what happened to Naveen Rabelli, an electrical engineer from Bangalore, India who got tired of dealing with the polluting three-wheeled tuk tuks on the streets of his city – so he decided to build an electric one that runs on solar power, and he's planning to drive all the way to London! The New York Times reports that Rabelli, 33 plans to drive his custom-built solar-powered tuk tuk from Bangalore to London in an effort to show how a small team without much in the way of resources can make a long journey using clean energy.
Rabelli has invested two years and his life savings of $6,500 into converting the tuk tuk, although his remaining resources are indeed scant. By his estimates, he’ll need to raise a total of $43,000 to make his trip happen, which he’s hoping will come in the form of sponsorships and invitations to speak at universities. But he’s not counting on it, and in the meantime is working an extra part time job as a badminton coach to help save some money. According to the New York Times, if the sponsorship money doesn’t start to flow, Rabelli says he’ll get a full-time job, hopefully with an ecomobility company, and start saving his wages to fund his adventure.
“I was taking a friend of mine from Argentina to a kite festival in Bangalore, and for some reason noticed lots and lots of tuk tuks that day,’ Rabelli said in an e-mail to the New York Times. “They were loud and polluting. It was then that we got the idea of converting one into a solar-electric tuk tuk. Straight after that, we got the idea to travel in it.” The tuk tuk can travel about 50 miles on an eight-hour charge at a speed of about 35 miles per hour, and the trip he has planned will be about 6,000 miles.
Via New York Times
Images via Tejas: The Solar Tuk Tuk