Photo of solar-powered mototaxi by Universidad Nactional in Lima.
What's worse about the two-stroke engines still common workhorses in motors of all kinds - the pollution or the noise? In Lima, Peru, plagued by air pollution, it's probably the former. An ingenious professor at the University of San Marcos has designed a solar panel retrofit of the two-stroke "mototaxis" that fill the streets of the city which can run on pedal-power or a battery hooked to the solar panels.Sunny side
Though Lima enjoys more than 350 sunny days each year, solar panels are at a premium, and project leader Dr. Werner Pachero Lujan acquired his from a Swedish company, Skyllermarks, that say they contribute to environmentally-friendly projects worldwide. Once splayed out slightly inelegantly on the roof of the moto taxi, the panels generate enough electricity to charge the battery and run the lights for night driving.
Though Pachero Lujan's project has a decidedly DIY nature to it, solar rickshaws or mototaxis have also been designed by SolarLab as the perfect city transport vehicle.
Pachero Lujan is hoping that a company will decide to mass produce panels to retrofit mototaxis in Lima and other South American cities to help the air pollution problem. The three-wheelers can run cleanly - and also much quietly - retrofitted with the panels.
Twelve 40-watt soft solar panels were installed on the taxi roof, replacing the two-stroke engine with a small electric motor and a battery.
Pachero Lujan has already devised a solar-powered swimming pool for San Marcos.
Read more about solar powered vehicles of all types at TreeHugger:
Solar Assisted Rickshaw Easier on Drivers
CES 2010 - Sharp Shows Off Solar Powered Car, New LED TVs, and Lovely LED Lights
My Other Vehicle Is...A Solar-Powered Robot Mower