There was some chatter a couple months ago about the possibility of solar-powered tuk-tuks — you know, the little three-wheeled mini-vehicles used all over Asia. But the pictures were bad and the idea was still in execution. No longer!
Wired’s Jeremy Hart is in the midst of a round-the-globe trip (sponsored by Ford), and happened across a solar tuk-tuk in the wild. They’re still pretty rare, it seems, both because they’re twice as expensive as the normal two-stroke ones, and because they’re not quite as practical as they could be. The solar panels can’t directly drive the motor, so it has to rely on gas anyway.
It’s still a step in the right direction. The millions upon millions of dirty engines spewing carbon all over the hyper-dense cities of India and China are a serious ecological hazard, and of course they make the air so thick that you have to slice a piece of and chew it before you can breathe it. Let’s hope electric vehicles (and cleaner energy to power them) spread to these megacities soon.