Solar powered Tuk Tuk lands at Dover after 6,200 mile trip

The 32-year-old Australian has made it to London. Picture: PA
The 32-year-old Australian has made it to London. Picture: PA
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An engineer has finally reached Britain in his solar-powered tuk tuk at the end of a seven-month, 6,200 mile overland adventure - despite a last-minute mishap.

Naveen Rabelli, 35, said his journey had been “fantastic” as he arrived in Dover five days later than expected after having his wallet and passport stolen in France.

He was forced to apply for an emergency passport following the theft, which happened after he parked his three-wheeled tuk tuk to use a toilet at a McDonald’s in Sarcelles, near Paris.

After crossing the English Channel from Calais, Mr Rabelli said of his epic journey: “It was fantastic up until I got to Paris where from there I got some things 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.”

Indian-born Mr Rabelli, who became an Australian citizen while working as an automotive engineer there, hopes to end his journey at Buckingham Palace.

As he posed for pictures beside his tuk tuk he told how British border officers made sure his vehicle was properly checked over.

He said: “Because I had been travelling for seven months and had an emergency passport, I had to take everything out.”

His self-modified tuk tuk is kitted it out with basic comforts, including a bed, a seat for a co-passenger, a cupboard with food donated by people, and a solar-powered cooker.

Travelling around 62 miles a day, he set off on his adventure to raise awareness of electric and solar-powered vehicles as a sustainable low-cost alternative mode of transport.

The idea of converting a fuel-based tuk tuk to renewable energy came when he and a friend were stuck in traffic in India surrounded by noisy, polluting tuk tuks.

He started his trip in India before his tuk tuk was shipped to Bandar Abbas in Iran.

His overland mission then began in earnest, seeing him drive through Iran, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and France.

Mr Rabelli had to adjust to life on the road, including bathing in lakes, rivers and even at police stations, while relying largely on food handouts.