An Indian-origin engineer arrived in Britainwith his solar-powered tuk-tuk on Monday after making a seven-month, 6,200-mile overland adventure. Naveen Rabelli, 35, who set off from Indiain February, reached Dover town in England five days later than expected because his passport and wallet were stolen in France. After obtaining an emergency passport and crossing the Channel from Calais, Rabelli said of his epic journey was fantastic until he got to Paris where his some of his belongings were stolen and two battery packs died. “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,” The Guardian quoted Rabelli as saying.
Rabelli, who was born in Indiaand became an Australian citizen while working as an automotive engineer there, hopes to end his journey at Buckingham Palace. While posing for pictures beside his tuk-tuk, he said he had his vehicle properly checked by British border officials “because he had been travelling for seven months and had an emergency passport”. His self-modified tuk-tuk is fitted with a bed, a seat for a co-passenger, a cupboard with food donated by people and a solar-powered cooker. Rabelli embarked on the adventure to raise awareness of electric and solar-powered vehicles as a sustainable low-cost alternative mode of transport.
He said the idea of converting a fuel-based tuk-tuk to renewable energy came about when he and a friend were stuck in traffic in Indiasurrounded by noisy, polluting tuk-tuks. He started his trip in Indiabefore his tuk-tuk was shipped to Bandar Abbas in Iran. His overland mission then began in earnest, he drove through Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France.