Electric rickshaws in Europe

Copyright eTukTuk

Some time ago, we debated about the potential of electric longboards designed by a bunch of students from Silicon Valley. This once again showed the immense versatility of eMobility. Today, we will present another innovative idea based on electric engineering. A start-up from Berlin called eTukTuk is currently making efforts to establish electric rickshaw on European roads. The rickshaw has been Asia’s mobility choice number one for decades. In Europe, however, the three-wheeler is still more associated with one’s last trip to Thailand than anything else. As going electric is becoming more and more popular, the electric rickshaw could be hitting a niche on European soil.

Electric, silent, cool

While on tour in Southeast Asia, Adam Rice, founder of eTukTuk, came up with the idea of bringing electric rickshaws to Germany. Today, the company offers three different models: a “Classic” model inspired entirely by the rickshaw roaming around the streets in Asia, a “Cargo” model for transportation (perfect for food delivery for example), and a “Limo” model that can comfortably shuttle up to six people. With a maximum range of 85 kilometres and a top speed of 50 kilometres per hour, the eTukTuk is great for journeys around the city. However, the electric rickshaw is unlikely to become a competitor of taxis. As founder Adam Rice puts it: “the taxi business is ruled by a few established companies. It is highly unlikely for us to conquer such a market”.[1] But there are other possibilities. The eTukTuk is exotic on our roads here in Europe. The fact that it’s so silent, agile - just cool really – makes it an admired guest on all kinds of events. eTukTuk’s fleet has been booked mostly by companies going on a day trip or showing potential investors around factory grounds. Mr Rice, however, wishes to make the eTukTuk available for everyone. So if you wish to have a fun night out, impress your partner, or see how driving an electric rickshaw feels like you can simply rent one for a couple of hours.

Hip for now, established in the long run

In general, it is very positive that many different eMobility ideas are actually being implemented at the moment. Ideas like the electric longboard or the electric rickshaw do not aim at the big, established markets, they try to go their own ways. Stepping into more unknown territory with hip and trendy ideas is exactly the right move for such an industry. At least for the time being. In the long run, however, something like the eTukTuk will hopeful challenge our dirty Diesel taxis. With the “limo” electric rickshaw model costing around twenty thousand Euros, it is understandable why they cannot do so right now. But the price will go down in the next years. What do you think? Could the electric rickshaw be a real alternative to taxis, buses, or trams? Read an interview with eTukTuk founder Adam Rice in our next week's article.

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