Naveen Rabelli’s tuk-tuk broke down the first time he rolled it out of his garage. The electrical engineer didn’t lose heart: now, he plans to drive his customised three-wheeler all the way to London.
Rabelli will leave India next year on a 9600km odyssey through 10 countries to promote the idea of environmentally friendly travel. His tuk-tuk, or auto rickshaw, is powered entirely by electricity and solar power.
“What better way is there to travel? The tuk-tuk is an Indian icon and this vehicle does not pollute the air in any way,” Rabelli, 33, told Reuters as he rode alongside a lake in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.
Since quitting his job with Reva, a unit of Indian car maker Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd that makes electric vehicles, Rabelli has spent two years tinkering with his second-hand tuk-tuk.
Equipped with a new motor, battery and gearbox, the bright red vehicle – named Tejas, a Sanskrit word meaning splendour or brilliance – now bears little resemblance to the sputtering, diesel-fuelled three-wheelers ubiquitous on India’s roads.
Via Matt Grantham.