SolarTuk turning heads in Gladstone region
IT'S been turning heads across the east coast of Australia for the past three weeks and yesterday was the Gladstone region's chance to marvel at a solar-powered tuktuk.
The SolarTuk Expedition is the brainchild of a team of young Australians led by Julian O'Shea and Jack Clarke, who left Melbourne with their small crew on November 24 for a 3000km-plus trip through to Cairns in an effort to promote sustainable transport.
SolarTuk Expedition media and outreach coordinator Rebecca Watts said the trip, scheduled to finish on December 18, had taken them to many places with some of them off the beaten track.
"We've tried to plan the best we can but what's been really invaluable which we can't plan is the local knowledge, being able to speak to people who live in the community we're visiting about which roads to take and not to take," Ms Watts said.
"No matter the amount of planning we did beforehand wouldn't have prepared us for how really helpful and open everyone has been and willing to have a chat and share some advice."
The crew were in Miriam Vale yesterday morning and were due in Calliope last night. A decision was made to take Gladstone Monto Rd to Calliope to avoid the Bruce Hwy.
The tuktuk was made in Thailand to Australian standards and can travel at 50km/h.
Ms Watts said the reaction of locals when they saw the unique vehicle roll into town was priceless.
"The amusing thing is a lot of people don't hear us coming so they get quite a shock, because it's electric it's so quiet," she said.
"People are also very intrigued by the solar panels that we have on the roof and the side of the vehicle.
"They are flexi solar panels so they've been strapped on to the top and they help to charge the battery and people are often curious and want to have a chat about it.
"We have the large battery which sits under our feet in the tuktuk itself."