A Bangalore resident and an electrical engineer Naveen Rabelli has prepared a solar-electric auto rickshaw and plans to drive it all the way to London. The customized three-wheeler tuk-tuk broke down the first time Rabelli rolled it out of his garage. Rabelli will leave India next year on a 9,600-km 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. An odyssey which is adventurous and eco- friendly at the same time.
Rabelli has spent two years on the second-hand tuk-tuk. The bright red vehicle is equipped with a new motor, battery and gearbox and is names Tejas, a Sanskrit word meaning splendor or brilliance. It weighs double a normal auto rickshaw, a tonne when fully loaded.
Its roof is made entirely from solar panels and cloth drapes protect its open sides from the elements. The project has already cost Rabelli his life savings of about $6,000.
Rabelli plans to ride his tuk-tuk from Bangalore to Mumbai, before putting it on a boat to Iran. Picking up the journey on the Persian Gulf, he will ride to Turkey before crossing into Bulgaria and heading across Europe to the French port of Calais.
– By Anand Thakkar
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