As there is growing concern worldwide about global warming, black emissions coming out of this type of diesel-powered vehicles is really a problem. Compared to air-conditioned taxi usually cheaper, motor-taxis more adapted for traffic-jams, BTS (sky train) and MRT which cross the city in just half an hour, the tuk-tuk doesn't have a chance. Besides, tuk-tuk drivers often use the picturesque aspect of their vehicle to over-charge tourists. Tourists often complain about some uncivilian tuk-tuk drivers, more likely to collect a commission than carrying their passengers to destination.

But, as a matter of fact, Thai people really care about the tuk-tuk. "Life would be meaningless without our tuk-tuk", even says Prapas Hemsuwan, one of the 8,000 drivers in Bangkok.

The invention of Morakot Charnsomruad could save the famous buggy. At first glance, the prototype really looks like a traditional tuk-tuk, which is a mix of motorcycle and rickshaw. Tuk-tuk has many similar forms throughout Asia, such as Trishaws or Jeepnees. The specificity of this new model is a battery powered by solar panels and fixed on the roof. No toxic emissions, little noise, a 80km action range, and a maximum speed of 60 kilometers an hour, higher than any traditional competitor.

This new tuk-tuk could contribute to "revolutionize the way of life in Bangkok," according to Tara Buakamsri, a Greenpeace activist. "The tuk-tuks can be the pioneers of a transport system more efficient and healthier in Bangkok and the rest of the country.

But there are legal an economical obstacles. Tuk-tuk licensing was frozen in 2008. Within two or three years, local authorities will define the new pollution standards for the entire motored-park in the country. But politics are well aware of the financial difficulties of the tuk-tuk drivers. The economic dimension will certainly be taken into account in their decision, which can not be too strict with the tuk-tuk.
Today, the prototype of the solar tuk-tuk, designed and marketed around Asia by Clean Fuel Energy Enterprise, costs 320,000 baht - about 10,000 USD - against 180,000 baht for a traditional model. Morakot hopes to obtain subsidies from the authorities in order to apply lower prices.

The idea is to ensure the future of this emblem, imported from Japan in the 50s, ban in the 60s, but deeply attached with Thailand identity. When he was in power in the early 2000s, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had offered one to Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, hoping to see tuk-tuks appear in the streets of Harare. In vain.

Recently, the current head of Thai government, Abhisit Vejjajiva, was photographed in Morakot's prototype. Maybe tuk-tuk still has a chance after all...