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Electric tuk tuks introduced to Europe

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October 19, 2010

Tuk Tuk Factory's new European market electric tuk tuks

Tuk Tuk Factory's new European market electric tuk tuks

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Call them tuk tuks, auto rickshaws, mototaxis or any one of several other names, but they’re one of the world’s most ubiquitous vehicles – three-wheeled motorized rickshaws. They’ve been a fixture on roads in Asia, South America, Africa and Italy for decades, and have more recently made their way into the Netherlands, the U.K. and other countries. Given that they typically have quite small engines and are used mostly as runabouts, Dutch company Tuk Tuk Factory (TTF) decided to start making electric tuk tuks a few years ago and has now introduced them to the European market.

TTF couldn’t sell gasoline tuk tuks direct from manufacturers in Asia, as the vehicles reportedly didn’t meet European environmental, quality or safety requirements. While some of the other brands of tuk tuks currently operating in Europe have been retrofitted with compressed natural gas engines, TTF decided to have their vehicles built from scratch.

“We took the biggest battery we could possibly imagine as a starting point, and then designed the vehicle around that battery,” said chief designer Dennis Harte. “A 15kWh lead acid battery drives the silent and maintenance free AC motor. The chassis has been designed to carry the 400 kilos (882 lbs) of the humongous battery.”

The 6-seater electric tuk tuk

According to the company, the vehicles’ “humongous batteries” should see them through 70 to 80 kilometers (43.5 to 50 miles) of average city use on one charge.

If the three new Europe-wide models are anything like those that TTF already sells in The Netherlands, the charge time is 10 to 12 hours, although an optional quicker-charging Lithium battery is also available. The three-seat and cargo models are powered by a 72V motor for a top speed of 50 km/h (31 mph), while the stretched 6-seater "limotuck" tops out at 35 km/h (22 mph).

The electric tuk tuks are expected to sell for €11,000 to €14,000 (US$15,110 to $19,231), and will require a Class B driver’s license.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
7 Comments

I wouldn't fancy being driven around London in the rain in one of these. They do seem to be fairly expensive as well. Surely the battery can't weigh 400 kg? That's going to use a lot of energy just to move the battery, let alone passengers.

Why not fit the machine out with pedals, so that passengers can provide green propulsion? If the pedalling generated electricity, an amount could be deducted from the fare, depending how much electricity each person generated. Just a thought.

windykites1
20th October, 2010 @ 06:59 am PDT

Yes the lead batteries can weigh that much. I talked to a local battery salesman for my pedal electric hybrid project, That would put me into 6 volt deep cycle units and even the lower AmpHr capacity requirement was pushing me past 100 pounds. Much more lead than car batteries and the prime reason we pray nightly for cheaper lightweight battery tech! They went low tech, not bleed the budget cutting edge, good move! Me too...for now.

Windykites is on my train of thought . First we must get past the beach side/ golf greens image and put some thought to foggy London use: Full enclosure, a propane heater with fan...then we green it up with electro-pedal stations each charged by how much or little they contribute to the total trip. A group pay taxi. I want to suggest also to think of commuters who "split" the bill in a social setting such as who buys beer after failing to pedal his/her share over the day or workweek. As others have reminded me, the electicity cost is only cents. The taxi fee is not! and bragging rights or beer bills put us beyond economic models. Leg power is translated into KilloWatt Hours, and that is how beer is paid out. Alternate currency tie-in

walt, low kinetic human hybrid llc

waltinseattle
20th October, 2010 @ 09:54 am PDT

A good point. Hope the brake's use "Energy Recapture" and Why the Class B licence?

Facebook User
20th October, 2010 @ 11:12 am PDT

A piece of ugly, useless junk and a stupid idea. Even a steam engine would be better.

Gyula Bognar Jr
20th October, 2010 @ 10:54 pm PDT

For your information; The e-Tuks can be closed up on a rainy day. So no complains so far in the rainy Netherlands.

The batteries are so heavy because you wanna be able to drive further then the end of the drivinglane. Batteriepower/weight is the general problem for electric transportation. The engines on the other hand are multiple times lighter and efficient. They don't even require maintenance. In the end the energycost for a electricvehicle is almost nothing. A trained professional can generate enough energy to earn 0,10 cents in 15 minutes. So this won't get you a big discount. But this fact will make the dailydriving of the e-Tuks very cheap. The cost per mile is almost nothing. In that way it's easy to win back your additional somewhat higher cost and give people a economical and fun ride.

Alexander Mascini
22nd October, 2010 @ 09:16 am PDT

There is nothing new here from the Dutch manufacturer.

There is no innovation worhty of the fact that it is made (copied) in the Netherlands. It is a straight ripoff of the original Thailand Tuk Tuks-the whole work: the concept, the name Tuk Tuk and even the design and look.

A thump down to the Farang thief ! Bad Karma indeed. Haven't you done enough plundering from Thailand in the past ?

A. Ted Vorachard

A. Ted Vorachard
23rd October, 2010 @ 08:36 pm PDT

Contrary to another commenter, I think these are a great idea. I also think it's smart of the company to build theirs from scratch. My first question, though, is are they still going to have natural gas engines in them to supplement the electric power? Or are they going to be straight battery powered. I know it says the charge should last awhile, but I think it would be smart to have a backup.

Keely Thomas-Moore
22nd May, 2012 @ 12:30 pm PDT
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