Traditionally, a rickshaw is a two-wheeled passenger vehicle propelled by a man on foot and was typically seen in some Asian countries. The Yodogawa Group, along with three other Japanese companies, has come up with a contemporary version of this old transporation method – an electric rickshaw which they've named the "Meguru." Yodogawa Group CEO Nobuyuki Ogura told Reuters:

This is a true environmentally friendly car. Instead of an air-conditioner, it comes with a pinwheel, and we are also thinking of adding a wind chime because it gives a refreshing sound to cool you down without the need of electricity. It doesn't have a heater, but it's equipped with blankets to keep you warm in the winter.

Powered by a lithium-ion battery, the Meguru has a maximum speed of about 25 miles per hour. Unlike the human-powered vehicle of old, the driver also sits in the rickshaw with the passengers. However, linking it to its heritage are the red lacquer body, recycled bamboo floors and a washi paper window all created by Japanese craftsmen. Since natural materials were used, according to Ogura, one may simply bury the rickshaw when it is no longer of use (we hope they take the battery out first). The Meguru runs for about one million yen or just a tad over $12K (U.S. at current exchange rates). With a price tag like that for a machine powered by a motor/battery, can it still be called a rickshaw?

[Source: Treehugger via Reuters | Image: Kim Kyung-Hoon]


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