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Students Meet Amazing Engineer And His Solar-powered Tuk-tuk

Published on: 5 Dec, 2016
Updated on: 7 Dec, 2016

An amazing story of adventure and inspiration was given to George Abbot School’s engineering students and its eco-team.


Engineer Naveen Rabelli (wearing maroon top in the centre) with students from George Abbot School, with design and technology teacher Chris Quinn, far right.

It was told by Naveen Rabelli, 35, an engineer from Hyderabad, India. He set off from India in February on a journey that took seven months, finishing at Buckingham Palace, London – a 6,200-mile overland adventure using solar energy to power his vehicle.

He told the students: “I wanted to prove that this form of transport is reliable, for long distance, different terrains, and different weather patterns.”

The solar-powered tuk-tuk Naveen drove on his journey from India to London.

The solar-powered tuk-tuk Naveen drove on his journey from India to London.

Naveen spent three years creating his solar-powered vehicle called a tuk-tuk, raising funds and planning his trip. The refurbished tuk tuk, originally a basic auto-rickshaw, was made fuel-free, solar operated and fully electric.

He designed it with the help of small fuel efficient companies in India.

His budget was as low as five Euros a day and he slept in the vehicle during his halts in the countries he passed through. It is fitted with a bed, a seat for a co-passenger, a cupboard for food (all of which was donated) and a solar-powered cooker.

He added: “The highlights have been how people have helped me along the way and supported me. People love the tuk-tuk, particularly in Iran. They come forward and take selfies. And the moment I tell them it doesn’t require petrol, their minds are blown.”

Naveen gives a talk to engineering students at George Abbot School.

Naveen gives a talk to engineering students at George Abbot School.

His hope is to raise money so as to donate the tuk-tuk to the British Museum, to motivate others and for his story to be remembered.

Gordon Foat from Woking’s Green Motor Sports, supported Naveen with his visit to George Abbot School

Gordon, who designed an all terrain vehicle for the WAVE European race in 2014, has worked alongside Naveen to promote the importance of electric vehicles being part of the future.

At the school, Naveen and Gordon gave talks to the engineering students and spent the day meeting and greeting other students during break and lunchtime.

A spokesperson from the school said: “We can learn so much from Naveen: his kindness, patience, and drive to make his dream become a reality.

“It was an honor to meet him as a member of staff, the students were awe-struck, with his stories and gentleness in approach.”

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