TUK TUK FOOD TRUCK
A Tuk Tuk is a motorized rickshaw popularized in the US and EU by massive tourism to Thailand. Traditionally they are three-wheeled open vehicles used for passenger (and groceries, goods, and livestock..) transport.
WHAT IS A TUK TUK ANYWAY?
Tuk Tuks are built by converting a motorcycle or scooter to a tricycle with a load bearing platform. Any auto rickshaw can be considered a Tuk Tuk. Due to massive demand there are also Tuk Tuks that start life on three wheels never having been anything else – such as our quality custom builds.
Commonly known in Europe as both a tuk tuk, or a triporteur, with a special mention to the popular Italian Piaggio APE, they are a classic, cute, and quirky way to run a food “truck”, usually serving lighter and smaller products such as coffee, drinks, or ice cream.
TYPES OF TUK TUK FOOD TRUCKS
Karpatia provides custom Tuk Tuk food trucks in several varieties with two different drive systems: electric or gas (gasoline, not LNG).
- New built authentic tuk tuks made in Asia with electric drive
- Vintage food truck restorations of classic threewheelers (mostly Piaggio APE’s) with electric or gas drive
- New built electric drive tuk tuks made in Holland
You can serve up anything from the Tuk Tuk. For your convenience, we have preconfigured models for the most popular options of coffee, drinks, and ice cream.
ORIGINAL - AUTHENTIC TUK TUK
MADE IN ASIA
The idea seems (and is) really cool. However, buyers must be aware that it is usually not going to be popular at the DMV, TÜV, RDW, or ITV – you name it. Many US or European road authorities are going to strangle your dreams of running these on the road in red tape. But we do sell them, and persevere through the hoops with you.
Why? That they are not always road legal does not mean they are not perfectly safe and fun stuff to drive around on your own property, a mall, hotel, resort, or even inside a conference venue. Plus the pricing is significantly friendlier than our other models.
Be mindful and check in advance if a Tuk Tuk can be classified as a food truck and can get a mobile vending license or food truck license in your county.
VINTAGE - FOOD TUK TUK
Whether you fell in love with the classic Italian Piaggio APE, an Indian Bajaj, or just the concept of a tuk tuk without having a fixed brand in mind, Karpatia can help you out.
Our vintage restorations include a full review and revision, or replacement where necessary, of the engine, all the electrics, and all mechanical and moving parts.
A custom superstructure will be built according to the needs of your brand and product. You can request a free quote and browse our preconfigured superstructures for popular options such as coffee, ice cream and drinks.
Vintage engines usually work fine with little maintenance, but to pass emission tests in urban centers or for extensive mileage the original Bajaj and Piaggio engine can be replaced with a more reliable, economical Honda or Yamaha or even an electric model.
As with all food trucks, Karpatia also provides custom painting and vinyl wrapping for your vintage tuk tuk. Customs and vintage restorations vary wildly in pricing so let us know your idea and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
100% ELECTRIC, FULLY ROAD LEGAL ELECTRIC TUK TUK FOR SALE IN THE USA
Are there road legal electric tuk tuks for sale in the US? Yes!
eTuk USA in Colorado was the first US based company to import fully DOT compliant electric tuk tuks from Holland before they closed operations late 2019.
Those same great electric tuk tuks are still being made in the Netherlands, and we build and export them right from Rotterdam, Holland to you.
Prices start at $25000 EXW and shipping EXW. You can choose from a variety of colors, cabin superstructures, and increased battery power for speed and range improvements.
Dozens of businesses all over the world use these units to run a successful concession business. Environmentally friendly and super quiet, these flexible and unassuming tuk tuks are a great mobile eye-catcher that can pack up and move to where the crowds are with speed.
ARE TUK TUKS LEGAL IN THE US?
Yes, tuk tuks are legal in the US and they have always been.
Laws on three wheelers vary from state to state, and they impact whether you should register, license, and insure the vehicle as a motorcycle or car, if you can use them for mobile vending, which lanes and roads can be used, and what maximum speed is allowed. But never does a state outright ban three-wheelers.
Customers mostly wonder about this as a result of the amount of electric tuk tuks available from Alibaba.
Unequivocally those are not road legal as the modification costs and headache to get them road legal, should you ever even get the official blessing for it, do not outweigh simply ordering a vintage conversion or new electric tuk tuk from us.
DECIDING BETWEEN AN ELECTRIC OR A GAS POWERED TUK TUK
What are the pro’s and cons of opting for either an electric or a gas powered tuk tuk?
Operational costs of electric units are lower as there is no need for gas. They are also quiet and require less maintenance. However, if they do break, the required repairs are significantly more costly.
The European made electric versions come with great cover and assurances so you don’t have to worry about that.
Pricing is a significant difference. Electric food tuk tuks made in the EU start at $25000 whereas a gas powered vintage tuk tuk restoration can usually be done for ~15% less, and have significantly more options and add ons for that price.
Another difference is the delivery time. Due to popular demand, the electric tuk tuks have a sizable production backlog of at least 3 months between order and delivery. Taking into account custom works and shipping you are likely looking at 5 months minimum.
It might be your first Tuk Tuk Food Truck, but it’s not ours. From coffee bikes and hot dog carts, to ice cream bikes and more, we have a basic plan to get you rolling quicker.
No cash, no problem! Get pre-qualified by our finance partners or see if we can negotiate a more affordable loan option.
Financing is possible for both new and used models.
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Starting a new business or doing a major upgrade?
We include our deluxe Food Truck Website package with any purchase of a Tuk Tuk, allowing you to shine as brightly online as offline.
frequently asked questions aboutLearn more in our knowledge center ►
Our vintage restorations and our newbuilt European tuk tuks are 100% road legal.
Asian versions are not, and can not be driven on public roads.
Older vintage Tuk Tuks are not the most environmentally friendly vending option. However, in our experience, cities mostly legislate their emission zones for cars and trucks, not scooters and tuk tuks.
Meaning: Ask us. We might know for your specific city, and if we do not we’ll show you how to verify it.
When restoring a vintage Tuk Tuk to a working condition as a catering unit, one of the most important things to start off a quality build with is sourcing a good used vehicle.
If you have already found one that is great and we are happy to assess the works needed to get it back in shape.
The exception is if you’ve had particularly poor luck and bought a dud. We will inform you of the sad news and provide other options.
Alternatively, we will still restore it if you really want to due to non-business reasons, even if it is not the most economic path to take.
Decent Asian versions from our own trusted supply start at $8-10k.
Of course, you can find a used Bajaj for a few hundred bucks in India or Thailand, it’s the logistics of getting it stateside that kill your budget.
Newly built quality custom electric tuk tuks start at $25000.
Tuk tuk is the Thai word for an autorickshaw. Americans use the word tuk tuk due to exposure through tourism in Thailand.
As tuk tuks are essentially converted motorcycles with a load bearing bed, they originate in countries that started with motorcycles very early.
In this case the Mazda-Go produced in Japan in 1929 is generally considered the first use of a motorcycle as an autorickshaw or “tuk tuk”.