Auto rickshaws are three-wheeled vehicles that are common in Asian cities. Because of the large number of rickshaws on the road and their older two-stroke engines, they have a significant negative impact on urban air quality. Recent changeovers to four-stroke engines as well as diesel, compressed natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas engines have succeeded in reducing the quantity of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. However, because of the large number of vehicles, the rickshaw “fleet” still represents a significant source of air pollution. There have been several studies that have examined the feasibility of converting an internal combustion engine (ICE) rickshaw to a photovoltaic or fuel cell (FC) hybrid electric configuration. These studies have typically used or modified a standard urban drive cycle. It is argued that such drive cycles do not accurately portray the demands on a rickshaw. Thus, the results may be misleading. In this study, a model of an ICE rickshaw was created and validated against experimental results. Two drive cycles that would closely emulate the true demands on a rickshaw operated in an urban environment were developed. A model of an FC hybrid rickshaw was created and tested. The effects of FC and battery capacities as well as the electric motor type on performance were studied. A comparison between ICE and FC hybrid rickshaw configurations was done using a realistic drive cycle. The ICE and the FC hybrid rickshaw models were created and assessed using the Powertrain System Analysis Toolkit software package. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.