File Photo: Archive photo of Tuk-tuk in Egypt (Photo: Al-Ahram)
The electric-powered three-seaters will be able to manoeuvre smoothly in narrow roads similarly to tuk-tuks, Tawfik noted, adding that they will also rely on clean energy and will be equipped with tracking systems to maintain the security and safety of citizens.
Tawfik made the announcement during a meeting with the government committee tasked with setting rules for replacing tuk-tuks with small, safe, and civil passenger cars.
Nearly five million tuk-tuks are currently operating in Egypt, according to unofficial estimates.
Tuk-tuks appeared for the first time in 2006 in Egypt as a cheap and an alternative means of transportation for millions of Egyptians nationwide, but remained unlicensed - and unsafe - for years.
During the meeting, Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea — who heads the committee — reviewed a group of alternative models for tuk-tuks, especially those that run on clean energy, according to a statement by the trade and industry ministry.
Furthermore, Gamea said that offers have been submitted by the ministries of Military Production and the Public Business Sector to provide alternative vehicles for tuk-tuks in cooperation with a number of local and international manufacturers.
The proposed alternatives should be environmentally friendly and easy to move like the current tuk-tuks, in addition to adhering to the traffic licensing system and providing safety factors for passengers, she pointed out.
Gamea also asserted that the new vehicles must meet all standard specifications, including all the technical requirements to facilitate the production process for manufacturers and licensing procedures.
In November 2021, Egypt halted the import of manufacturing components for tuk-tuks - including the base, chassis, and engine - pending the passing of legislation to legalise the status of vehicles countrywide by granting licenses to vehicles that meet the state-imposed technical requirements.
The government also established financing mechanisms for those wishing to replace their tuk-tuks with a gas-powered minivan.
In April 2021, tuk-tuks were included in a wider vehicle replacement initiative with the aim of preserving the environment and making use of the country’s plentiful natural gas production.
In 2014, the country issued a long-awaited presidential decree modifying the state’s traffic law no. 66/1973 to license tuk-tuks and owners.