A company that manufactures tuk-tuks — the three-wheeled motorized rickshaws that have moved the masses for more than a century — aims to make inroads in the United States.
DENVER — They’re ubiquitous in Asia, swarming the bustling streets of Bangkok, New Delhi and Beijing.
Now, a company that manufactures tuk-tuks — the three-wheeled motorized rickshaws that have moved the masses for more than a century and go by many other names in Asia, Africa and Latin America — aims to make inroads in the United States.
The Tuk Tuk Factory, based in Amsterdam, has signed a licensing agreement with Denver-based eTuk USA to allow the company to manufacture and sell an electric version of the vehicle.
The company’s founders hope the eco-friendly vehicles, a far cry from the loud, pollution-spewing versions common in Asia and South America, will become the next hip mode of transportation for urban dwellers and tourists across the country.
Most Read Business Stories
- How to buy a house in the Seattle area's red-hot 2021 real estate market
- 'Like science fiction,' Seattle startup sends laser-equipped robots to zap weeds on farmland
- COBRA is free for 6 months under the COVID relief bill. Do you qualify?
- With pandemic-era crunch, that popular car is going to cost you
- Washington state ranks low for home foreclosures, but aid groups are bracing for more
It’s too soon to know if Americans will embrace tuk-tuks, but Michael Fox, director of sales and marketing for eTuk USA, says the company has been selling the vehicles to individuals, marketing companies and food vendors for $16,950 to $25,000, depending on how they are customized.
The three partners’ other company, eTuk Denver, launched a call-and-demand shuttle service in downtown Denver after receiving approval from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which regulates for-hire transportation services.
The service is the latest to enter an increasingly crowded field of transportation options that includes pedicabs, ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft, and golf-cart taxis.
Fox is banking on the tuk-tuk’s open-air design to help it stand out.
“When you look at a golf cart and you look at a tuk-tuk, which has more curb appeal?” he asked.
But like ride-hailing services, the tuk-tuk has faced some pushback from cab companies and shuttle operators over the its safety.
Terry Bote, a commission spokesman, said those companies have been successful in restricting where the tuk-tuks can operate and how many passengers each can carry. The tuk-tuks operate mostly in a limited downtown area and are banned from providing scheduled service to the Denver Broncos football stadium, a lucrative destination for the competition. But even with the limits, Fox said his service can complement Denver’s bus and light rail systems.