If you’ve ever vacationed in Africa or the Middle East (or, dear reader, you
live there and read RideApart, thanks!), you’re familiar with that
particular mostly-commercial vehicle seldom seen in the USA, the Tuk tuk.
Technically an “auto-rickshaw” it is the three-wheeled love child of a
motorcycle and a minibus ... the electric vehicle revolution is touching the
Meet the eTuk. Based out of Denver, CO, eTuk is selling these electric-only
machines starting around $20,000 US with a hard-sell brochure (don’t
download the e-book, trust me, unless you already know these things are
legal in your state). The company had the eTuks tested and certified with
the US DOT [
https://www.rideapart.com/articles/302950/helmet-safety-certifications-crash/ ] and they each have a 17-character VIN for registration. That doesn’t
necessarily mean they’re allowed in your city, so if you’re inspired you’d
better check first.
They seem to be marketed as a more-interesting taxi, or an unusual delivery
“van,” or a modern food-delivery “roach coach” (you know, that truck that
shows up full of breakfast? Do they only call them Roach Coaches in
By their very design they are open-air but could be enclosed (sort of like a
reverse convertible–it has a roof but no, or temporary, walls). In my
estimation they would not be great in the outdoor snowy weather we get in
the north of the country, but perhaps the headquarters in Denver has figured
out a way to make them year-round friendly. They would probably do great in
southern tourist-laden cities and amusement parks.
While there’s a ton of hype about the vehicles in their marketing brochures
and website, there’s very little hard information about cost of upkeep,
range, highway legality or safety. The owners’ manual does detail the 72
volt motor, the twelve (12!) wet-cell lead-acid batteries and the need to
add water to them regularly. These are not maintenance-free AGM batteries,
but on the bright side nor are they Lithium Ion, so they probably won’t
catch fire (or hold nearly as much of a charge). The charge time is
approximately 14 hours.
Also, since the machine uses traditional motorcycle-style forks, those will
need maintenance along with the hydraulic brakes.