Most of us know Tuk Tuk’s from India or Thailand! Useful, small vehicles to get around within the busy streets – a way faster than normal cars.
But have you ever heard about someone who is traveling around 10.000 km from India to UK with a Solar Tuk Tuk? I haven’t…
I am very happy that I met Naveen in Shiraz, Iran this morning. This amazing guy is living his “once in a lifetime trip” since feruary 2016!
We were talking about this unique idea – and I was absolutely excited by his story of the Solar Tuk Tuk!
Naveem, what about the idea traveling with a Solar Tuk Tuk from India to London?
I had a childhood dream of traveling to England – I still don’t know why but hopefully I will find out one day. From Australia to India I was travelling with cars and when I came to India, I was not happy with the situation because of all the noise and pollution. So I decided that in my travels to see new places and cultures I should not pollute the environment anymore. And that was the start of this idea.
You have been an Engineer before – so, was it easy to transform the Tuk Tuk into a Solar Tuk Tuk?
I am an Electrical Engineer, so it was not that easy and it took us a long time. We had to do many things and it was a lot of research as well. All in all it took us three years from the idea to get the Tuk Tuk on the road. And we have had many accidents and problems in the beginning. The first break down happened after the first kilometer.
The car is driving without any petrol or gas – do you just use Solar Power?
It’s working with solar and electrical Power. 25-30 percent is solar Power and the rest is electrical power. So I always have to find some plug-in stations. In a few places in India where I was traveling they haven’t seen any power for three or four month. There I was just able to use the solar power. If the batteries are completely charged, I can drive between 60 and 80 kilometers. Depends on the road if it’s uphill or downhill and of course, the speed I am driving.
The good thing to travel that slow is, I meet new people every 60 to 80 kilometers. For example in India, being an Indian, I could see the language transformation and the different cultures – that’s very good for me.
On the road you are teaching something about sustainability, right?
Yes – so, the project is about three things. Bulid, travel and inspire! I build my own vehicle, I am traveling in my vehicle and I try to inspire the young generation so sustainable energy and lifestyle. It’s not just about solar, it can also be about how you harvest water or how to grow your own food. I can meet people who are working in these fields and I can connect people doing these things in different countries.
How much time do you want to spend on the road – is there any schedule?
I already spent three years on this project but from now on, I should spend three to four month from Iran to London. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to travel – so I do not want to have any rush.
While you’ve parked your vehicle in the park this morning a lot of people came to take a shot. How many Photos have other people taken with you and your car so far – any ideas?
Laughing… Photos and Selfies – a lot! In India it is quite common to have a Tuk and I was not noticed that much. But this is a special vehicle with the colors and the solar panels – there is no sound and no smoke coming out – and for that reasons, people stopped me a lot. In Iran they are more curious about the car because they know it from the Bollywood movies. So they want to sit in the car, want to take photos with their families and want to know what it is.
Are there any strange or crazy things which happened to you since you started this adventure?
When I was hitchhiking in Australia, a Truck-Driver gave me a ride. He knew everything about Indian Cricket but he never met an Indian before. So he brought me to a small village where they sold Samosas in a Coffee Shop and he invited me for Lunch and he was really happy with that. First time he met a Indian!