A former engineer with Mahindra Reva, the electric unit of Indian car maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Naveen Rabelli has been working on this customized three wheeler, fitting it with a new motor, battery and gearbox and powered entirely by electricity and solar power.
Working on this creation for over two years, the second hand Tuk-Tuk is now ready to undertake its journey. It weighs a tonne when fully loaded and has a roof of solar panels and cloth drapes. Eight hours of battery charge will allow the Tuk-Tuk to undertake a journey of 50 miles (80 kms) while when drawing solar energy, Tejas will be able to carry on for a further 16 miles (25 kms).
This endeavour has cost Rabelli around $6,000 (INR 3,60,480) while more funds are needed prior to the journey for reinforcement of floor and for the purchase of a lithium ion battery pack. Rabelli wishes to prove its economy as this solar electric Tuk-Tuk can cover 100 kms on less than $1 while diesel powered Tuk-Tuk could go the same distance at a cost of $4.
Rabelli will be accompanied by travel companion Raoul Kopacka. They will travel to Mumbai from Bangalore, put the Tuk-Tuk on a boat to Iran and continue to the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Bulgaria and across Europe to the French port of Calais while Kopacka documents the entire journey. Naveen expects the journey of almost 10,000 kms will take about 90 days. His final destination is London.
For more information, visit their website – www.solartuktuk.com