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Solar powered Tuk-Tuk arrives in the UK after 6,200 mile trip

16 Sep

Naveen Rabelli, an engineer has travelled in a solar powered tuk-tuk all the way to the UK from India. Rabelli, who was born in India and became an Australian citizen while working as an automotive engineer there, hoped to end his journey at Buckingham Palace. His journey has took seven months in his solar-powered tuk-tuk on an incredible 6,200 mile (9,978km) journey. It has a top speed of 60km/h (37 mph) and is powered by both electricity and solar power. The vehicle he has named Tejas, which suitably means radiance or brilliance.

The big adventure began in Bangalore in India before the tuk-tuk was shipped to Iran. He then drove through Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France. The tuk-tuk cost Rabelli £1,100 and spent around £8500 customising it. As well as making it run on solar and electric power, he installed a bed, solar cooker and a cupboard, which he stocked with food donated by well-wishers.

Travelling at around 62 miles a day, he set off on his adventure to raise awareness of electric and solar-powered vehicles as a sustainable low-cost alternative mode of transport. Rabelli converted the petrol-run vehicle to a solar powered one, which seems like a self-sufficient home. He got the idea of creating a solar-powered tuk-tuk after he and a friend got stuck in traffic a few years back.

The 32-year-old Australian has made it to London. Picture: PA

Unfortunately on the last leg of his world tour, Rabelli had to pause his journey one country short of his intended destination after his passport and wallet were stolen from his parked vehicle in Sarcelles, north of Paris, while he was using a bathroom. The 35-year-old had to wait for his new passport so that he could cross the Channel and finish his journey at Buckingham Palace.

Talking of his journey, Rabelli particularly appreciated the support of the local people: “The highlights have been the way people have helped me out along the way and supported me. People love the tuk-tuk, particularly in Iran and many other countries. They come forward and take selfies. And the moment I tell them it doesn’t require petrol, their minds are blown.”

Mr Rabelli says his goal is to create awareness of the potential for solar-powered passenger vehicles in Asian and European countries, presenting an Indian solution to the world. Well Naveen, the world is certainly watching!


How much energy is used on transport in the UK?

12 Sep

In the UK the transport sector is the most noticeable consumer of energy apart from heating.  The transport sector represented 36% of total final consumption of UK energy products in 2013. The transport sector can be split into four different categories when it comes to energy usage, these are; road, air, rail and water.

Almost all forms of transport are big energy consumers whether it is cars zipping through the city streets, planes roaring through the sky or enormous trains speeding through the countryside.

According to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, in 2013 the road transport sector accounted for 74% of total transport energy consumption in the UK. And even though cycling is becoming very popular in the UK the figures haven’t changed much since 2012.

Transport accounts for around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that total consumption of energy by transport is decreasing in the UK, but not at a rate that we can jump for joy about.

It might come as a surprise but the growth in car usage has been slowing down dramatically over the past 20 years. Although no one can explain why this is the case, the public transport sector has really taken off offering attractive packages and facilities to customers. Plus the dramatic increases in fuel prices have also probably hindered the car sector. Not to mention the road congestion within the UK.

Why sit in traffic when you can read the morning paper with a cup of coffee on your way to work? This is what many may be thinking as train use has doubled within the last two decades showing no sign of slowing down. Overall railways when operating effectively are very energy efficient.

The downside of rail is that trains are becoming much heavier due to health and safety, seating and the facilities they offer. Not to mention trains are not always carrying a full load, but in fact at times are carrying fresh air. They will really need to improve their energy efficiency credentials as cars are becoming much more fuel efficient. Even aviation is becoming more fuel efficient and does not consume as much energy as often assumed.

Taking this into account how can we save energy on transport in the UK? Our first tip is to let someone else do the driving – using public transport is getting easier, thanks to new services that help you to find what’s available and plan your journey. Advance planning can make a big difference to your journey, cutting fare costs as well as travel time.

One that doesn’t need an explanation is cycling, everyone loves cycling right? Take in the sights and feel the breeze on your face. You can even wear a helmet and lovely lycra!

Finally instead of jumping in the car to nip to the shop or take the kids to school, why don’t you walk which is not only helping the environment but also helping you burn calories. Kaching.



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