ETukTuks – Perfect for the last green mile.
I’m thinking about the future of transport. Not teleportation pods, too many flies around for that, but tuktuks. When I was in Cambodia they were everywhere, and I was wondering, why is it not so here in the UK? And also, when will the electric tuktuks really take off?
In India and Asia, tuktuk are absolutely prolific, more common than cars. They range from professionally mass manufactured to a basic rickshaw or horse cart with a moped attached. They are in some ways the perfect transport, very cheap to run, easy to operate, very easy to maintain and repair, able to carry people and cargo, very efficient in every way. I decided to find out more, so after googling around, I phoned TukTukUK to learn more about them, and discovered I might be onto something.
I learn BajajAuto is the biggest manufacturer in the World, with a near monopolistic 87% market share covering 70+ countries, they’ve sold way more tuktuks than there are people in the UK. They’ve got it down to a fine art, manufacturing upwards of 70,000 per month, designed so intelligently that they’re engineered to fit exactly 22 of them into a 40 ft shipping container.
I’m thinking about taxis, but Robert, the Director of TukTukUK, tells me that really the single biggest use is the last mile of distribution, and in the UK this is going to be especially so. In logistics, the last mile is always the hardest. DPD, the UK’s largest parcel delivery firm, even has an incubator called Last Mile Labs, dedicated to finding and supporting startups with potential solutions to the frictions of the last mile of logistics. Drones are one much hyped about possibility, but in practice, etuks are likely to find an easier ride to mass adoption and uptake.
Diesel is on the way out, already many Councils are charging or even preventing diesel vehicles from entering city zones, but electric tuktuk are ideal for localised deliveries. They have a 100 mile a day charge, which is quite sufficient for the purpose, and charge back up in around four hours from a standard 13amp plug socket. They’re super efficient, having three wheels gives less road resistance than a car or van, they’re a fraction of the weight, and cost a fraction to run. They can be driven by anyone over 21 with a full licence, they’re classified between motorbikes and cars, and as a delivery vehicle they’re in many ways perfect. Robert, the tuktuk expert, talks about supermarkets using them, and the Postal service, they could make great use, cheaper and easier than vans, and they already have depots to recharge them in the evening. Also, another great stand out feature of tuktuks is that they actually do stand out. They’re unusual, certainly here in the UK. When did you ever see one? And they’re super easy to brand with company colours, logo and design, customisable, quirky, a continuous mobile advert. I’m told there’s a butcher that uses one for deliveries, and I imagine how easy it would be to add a giant sausage to the roof and that’s all the marketing you’d ever need. Maybe play Meatloaf songs as you drive around, jobs done. Marketing is about getting seen and staying seen and building an awareness of a brand. A top of the range electric tuktuk can be had for less than £10k, cheap as chips to run, ideal for all manner of deliveries from Pizzas to Parcels to Pedicures. If I had a retail shop I’d invest in an etuk, brand it up, and offer within the hour deliveries of whatever it was I sold. Butchers, greengrocers, healthfood, delivered from local businesses by etuks, the most efficient, environmentally friendly thing on the roads. A perfect green last mile solution. Coming to Yorkshire soon.