I want to tell you a story that begins in India about ten years ago. The story revolves around an American entrepreneur and a method of transport very familiar with pretty much everyone in the whole of Asia: the TukTuk!
Our American entrepreneur – let’s call him Adam Rice, as that’s his name – was struck by the challenges that faced the cities in Asia he often visited. Besides the typical issues of sanitation, housing and clean drinking water, he recognized that one of the biggest challenges facing cities like Mumbai and Bangkok was an effective means of transportation for its growing populations. And like most tourists and locals he loved the convenience of travelling around in a Tuk-Tuk. He then got thinking about the challenges in his own adopted country of Germany, and what lie ahead for the future. He realised that the TukTuk could solve many of the problems facing our increasingly crowded streets, but not in its current form, as however loveable, they are actually quite inefficient users of fuel and cause significant levels of air and noise pollution. So what was the solution? 100% Electric motors of course! So fast forward a few years and we have the first eTukTuks hitting the streets of Europe. Due to transportation regulations they are not (yet!) in use as taxis, instead they are used daily for tourism and special events. But they are an alternative way that the general public can experience first-hand the joys of electric driving and dispel all the myths. After one overnight charge the Tuk is good to drive for 85-100km depending on weather and driving conditions. Not bad eh. And before all the super-greenies out there start asking – yes the Tuks in Berlin are all powered by green electricity! In Germany we are lucky enough to be able to choose from four genuine providers of renewable, non-nuclear energy: Naturstrom, Lichtblick, Greenpeace Energy and EWS Schönau.
In Berlin our eTukTuks are just one part of a transport revolution that seems to be taking place here at the moment. Carsharing schemes are really taking off and “cars-to-go” – even electric ones – can be found on every street corner. We also have a super public transport system and well-used cycle paths. However Berlin still isn’t meeting the EU standards on pollution despite laws requiring old cars to be removed from the roads and the creation of an “environmental zone” in the city centre. So there is still a great deal of work to be done – which isn’t easy, especially when the German Chancellor is so influenced by the extremely strong German car lobby and exerts her power to weaken Europe-wide emissions targets.
But meanwhile, back in happy 100% electric TukTuk land, we are doing the best we can do, to assist the long –overdue electric transportation revolution.
So where is the love story? Well, basically anyone who comes into contact with our eTuks falls INSTANTLY in love with them. They look great, sound great and smell great so what is not to love?
This is a guest post.
Katie Griggs is Operations Manager at eTukTuk Gmbh. She is also Campaign Director for 10:10 Deutschland.