In large cities in Asia and Africa millions of auto-rickshaws (tuk tuks) offer their taxi-services. The vehicles are the main source of income for millions of people. However, the drivers of these rickshaws often belong to the lower socio-economic class of their society. Furthermore, their three-wheelers also cause severe air-pollution and produce large amounts of CO2.
In 2007, Enviu decided to start an international design competition (Hybrid Auto rickshaw Battle) to create solutions for this issue. Students of seven different technical universities in The Netherlands and India were challenged to design the most efficient, easy to implement and affordable upgrade kit for existing auto rickshaws. By means of these upgrade kits, existing rickshaws would become both cleaner and more fuel efficient. Hereby we can significantly reduce the negative environmental impact AND increase the income potential for the rickshaw drivers.
The Hybrid Tuktuk Battle covered a period of 18 months, during which many hundreds of students, volunteers and expert professionals were involved. Indian 2-stroke rickshaws were shipped to the Netherlands for the competition and the Indian teams received their 4-stroke vehicle. All teams went through six phases of development and met each other during the final race event in Chennai, India (July 2009). HAN University (2-stroke class) and SRM University (4-stroke class) came out of the competition as the winners.
Enviu has partnered with Indian entrepreneur Ramesh Prabhu to develop a start-up company in India (Three wheels united). The goal of this company is to create social and environmental impact in the auto rickshaw driver community. Three wheels united has developed a business model around three pillars: financial services, advertising and clean technology. By offering fair loans and advertising income to rickshaw drivers, we aim to create better and more sustainable income for the drivers. The installing of clean technology will further increase the income potential and also decrease the environmental footprint of the rickshaw eco-system.
Targets Hybrid Auto rickshaw Battle
– improves socio-economic situation of auto-rickshaw drivers
– reduce CO2 emission
– improve air quality in large cities