The traditional rickshaw is getting an update. Photo: Nigel Wedge under a Creative Commons license.
Perhaps inspired by the Seinfeld episode where Kramer and Newman try to set up a business using homeless men to pull rickshaws through New York, a Japanese firm has designed an electric rickshaw. Called the "Meguru," it's a spin on the traditionally man-powered vehicle that first appeared in Japan at the end of the 19th century and that has since spread around the world. Produced by the Yodogawa Group, the Meguru is just 8'2 long, 3'11 wide and 5'3 tall, and comes with a maximum speed and range of 25 miles per hour. It seats three and uses a single lithium-ion battery.
It's a remarkably simple design, with little in the way of bells and whistles: its heating system consists of blankets, and a pinwheel fan replaces an air conditioning unit. In homage to the rickshaw's Japanese past, the vehicle's floor is made of recycled bamboo, and the vehicle's aesthetic components are all made by craftsmen in Western Japan.