In Bangkok, Delhi or Cairo the roar of the auto rickshaw is part of the soundscape. Easy to navigate their way through traffic jams and narrow streets, the tuk-tuk is one of the most convenient ways to cross congested cities in several countries. Since existing models are very noisy and polluting, some companies have decided to come forward with a solution: create a zero-emission electric version. (Article from The Guardian, 3 June 2016)
This environmentally friendly tuk-tuk, powered by a rechargeable battery that can run up to about 96 kilometers, is the invention of the Dutch company ‘Tuk Tuk Factory’ based in Thailand. Various models have been designed to accommodate up to six people.
The company has already sold 800 electric tuk-tuk in 30 countries since 2011. Portugal has bought the largest amount of these three wheels vehicles. Some tourism companies offer rides aboard to discover the country. The director of Tuk Tuk Factory Roland Vos believes that the electric tuk-tuk will take off quickly and should interest the tourism industry. “Many hotels have already expressed their interest in this revolutionary vehicle and also those in the street food business. The electric tuk-tuk is also of growing interest for daily service taxis,” he added.
We may, therefore, very soon see the Tuk Tuk through the streets of European cities which are also looking to reduce pollution and provide a quick transportation service to their citizens while respecting the environment. This innovative taxi is currently being tested on the streets of Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Reduce pollution and provide a quick transportation service
The electric tuk-tuk has already entered the US. It is used as short-distance shuttle to beat the competition as Uber and other service providers do not really focus in the short distance transportation. The electric tuk-tuk meanwhile is a fast, cheap and environmentally friendly vehicle. It is also already on the streets in India and the Philippines. Terra Motors, a Japanese company, has sold more than 5,000 electric rickshaws respectively.
In South Africa, the electric tuk-tuk is struggling to make a breakthrough in the transportation market. Entrepreneurs who want to innovate face the challenge of taxi drivers. However, those like Neil du Preez, founder of Mellowcabs, were determined to stand up and to launch the electric tuk-tuk on the streets of Cape Town and Johannesburg in the coming months.