Remember the rickshaw, one of the most famous taxis in India and the Tuk-Tuk, the most popular taxis in south east Asia? Well both are back big style and with all – electric propulsion.
Pollution in cities such as Delhi, Bangkok and Beijing, a major problem for decades, will be substantially reduced when these new vehicles arrive in force. Although electric versions of the Tuk-Tuk have been around for some time, governments in these countries are now seriously committing to reducing their Co2 emissions to meet climate change objectives.
Mahindra, the Indian car maker that sold Jeep Wrangler-like 4x4s in the UK in the 1990s, has returned to the UK with the recent appointment of a dealer selling its range of Treo electric auto rickshaws, or Tuk-Tuks.
Hampshire-based ‘Tuk Shop’ has a choice of three versions: a traditional passenger-carrying model, a pick-up and an enclosed cargo van which are based on a lightweight tricycle chassis with a tubular steel body frame clothed in tough plastic panels. A choice of solid or fabric roof is available.
Tuk Shop founder, Steve Webb has been importing tuk-tuks and selling them in the UK since 2004, but could be about to target Scotland’s transport network!
Many of the unique little three-seater vehicles are used by Steve’s customers in including coffee shops, pizza makers, taxi and promotional companies but now 12 months since he acquired his first Mahindra Treo for testing and certification purposes.
Says Steve: “Although I sold a small number of Tuk-Tuks in Scotland, especially to people who fell in love with them while on holiday somewhere in E.E. Asia and for promotional events, I believe there is a significant marketing opportunity in the taxi and delivery sectors. There is no more efficient vehicle available today with the pollution saving characteristics of and electric Tu-Tuk.”
Steve has clinched a deal to supply examples to an app-based ride-hailing service in Newquay while, as part of its ‘safer streets’ strategy, a police force in South Wales has ordered some as mobile refuges for vulnerable women. Meanwhile, as part of his conversion business, Steve is expecting to be busy supplying others to companies dispensing everything from pizzas to Prosecco.
Will we see the Tuk Tuk on the streets of Scotland…adequately weather-proofed of course!
Mahindra Treo electric tuk-tuk specification
Price: from £10,995 plus VAT on-the-road including charger
Motor: 8kW electric motor
Battery: 7.3kWh lithium-ion
*Meanwhile Audi has just unveiled its version of the famous Rickshaw…and it’s all electric.
Who would have thought that the German giant – famed for its fast, stylish marques - would head down this road..but they obviously see a market potential!
The collaborative project between the Audi Environmental Foundation and German-Indian non-profit start-up Nunam will see three electric rickshaws hit India’s roads next year. They will be fitted with batteries from the Audi e-tron test fleet.