Tuk Tuk Food Truck
What is a Tuk Tuk anyway?
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.
A Tuk Tuk is not a brand or a very specific model. Tuk Tuks are built by converting a motorcycle or scooter to a tricycle with a load bearing platform and 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.
What kind of Tuk Tuk Food Truck do you provide?
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 – Quality like it’s made in Germany, but smarter 😉
Original - authentic Tuk Tuk made in Asia
The idea seems (and is) really cool. But be aware it is really not going to fly with the DMV, TÜV, RDW, ITV – you name it. Any and all 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.
Why? That they are not road legal does not mean they are not perfectly safe and fun stuff to drive around on your own property, such as a mall, hotel, resort or even inside a conference venue. And the pricing is significantly friendlier than our other models, sometimes that’s just what you need.
Be mindful they can not be classified as a food truck and can not get a mobile vending license or food truck license in most cities and states.
This means they are only to be used as inventory for your catering- and event company or other hospitality, promotional and food service functions.
Vintage - Food Tuk Tuk restorations
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. Browse our used listings or source your own – we’ll be happy to take on the project.
A custom superstructure will be built according to the needs of your brand and product – but 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.
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 – let us know your idea and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
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, but 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. Never does a state outright ban threewheelers.
Customers mostly wonder about this as a result of the amount of electric tuk tuks available from Alibaba.
Unequivocally: those are not road legal and the modificiation 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 European electric tuk tuk from us.
Asian options are only a value choice if you do not need road legality for your business model.
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 then? 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 though, and we build and export them right from Rotterdam, Holland – to you.
Prices start at $22500 exw. and ex. shipping. You can choose from a variety of colors, cabin superstructures and increased battery power for speed and range improvements.
Many dozens of business al over the world use these units to run a succesful concession business. Environmentally friendly and super quiet, these flexible and unassuming tuk tuks are a great mobile eyecatcher that can pack up and move to where the crowds are with speed.
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 – no gas. They are also quiet and require less maintenance. However once or if due to random bad chance they do break, the required repairs are significantly more costly.
There is no warranty on our Asian tuk tuks, but 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 $22500 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 in to account custom works and shipping you are likely looking at 5 months minimum.
By assessing your dreams we come to a shared understanding of who we are building for and why
Exploring multiple design options lets us find the solution that best suits your business goals
We refine the concept and provide you with a detailed design that meets your needs
Close monitoring during production ensures we meet your standards. You can always fly- or drive in and take a look!
We offer a range of extra services to support your operation, so you can keep your focus.
WHY BUY WITH KARPATIA?
We will provide you with the best kitchen equipment and customizations such as full body wrap or painting – fast and easy.
We also provide additional services to help you get started – from financing to food truck websites
Is a tuk tuk food truck the right mobile vending solution for you?
Frequently Asked Tuk Tuk Food Truck related questions
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.
Yes. For UK customers we also offer self pick-up at our production in Holland.
Yes, we ship to the USA. In fact, this page is solely aimed at US visitors and – congratulations – you are our biggest export market.
Containers go everywhere, and all units can always be shipped to the nearest port. We might not have a local forwarder in your country (yet) though, in which case we will find one together with you.
Karpatia has no showroom – but of course, we are always happy to show the workshop. You can make an appointment through our contact form and try before you buy.
Generally – Yes, of course!
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 – i.e. you bought a dud, a cat in the sack – turnips, not lemons!
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 $5000. Of course you could also find a used Bajaj for a few $100 in India or Thailand proper and restore and convert it yourself.
Vintage ones can be found for as little as $1500 prior to conversion, however in our experience getting one up to standards gives a final working price starting at $15k.
Newly built quality custom electric tuk tuks start at $22500.
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”.