Wiebe Wakker with his electric 'Blue Bandit' in Darwin
Driving from the Netherlands to Australia by car is already a big challenge, electric pioneer Wiebe Wakker did it without money and hasn’t visited a single fuel station on his way. The 31-year-old solo-traveller left Amsterdam on the 15th of March 2016 in a fully electric car and yesterday, after 827 days, he reached Darwin.
Wakker relies on social media and good samaritans who help him get to Sydney. Wakker’s project ‘Plug Me In’ is based on the collaboration between people, in which everyone has their own contribution. On the website plugmeinproject.com anyone has the opportunity to contribute with a meal, a roof over his head or a plug to charge his electric vehicle.
The route is determined based on these offers and this led to Wakker zigzagging around the world, crossing 33 countries, without any money, but with a big goal.
Already over 1,450 people from 45 different countries contributed to Wakker’s project and this led to unexpected encounters with ministers in Germany, sheiks in the United Arab Emirates and a royal family in Malaysia.
With a mission to dispel the myth that electric vehicles cannot match their fossil fuel-powered cousins when it comes to endurance, Wakker has so far travelled 66,000 kilometres in a retrofitted electric station wagon, which has a 37 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery and a range of 200 km.
The route of Wakker’s journey. 33 countries, 827 days and 66.000 kilometers
Wakker arrived in Darwin on the 30th of May by airplane from Timor-Leste but was reunited with his car, nicknamed the Blue Bandit, yesterday when it was released from the Customs at Darwin Port.
“I am super excited that I have finally reached Australia. It has taken quite some time as I encountered strong setbacks during the journey. The charger exploded in India which needed to be repaired and later in Indonesia water came into the battery pack and this damaged the battery severely, causing me to stay in Surabaya for three months. Also I got stuck a few times as I had no funds to continue. After all these challenges I am very proud and relieved I made it this far.” Wakker says.
Soon Wakker will continue his electric endeavour which will end in Sydney. “Already over 300 people around Australia offered me accommodation however the majority of them live in the bigger cities.
I hope people living outside the major city will be eager to offer me energy but I have no doubts that will be a problem considering the friendliness Australians are so well known for.” People who are keen to support Wiebe’s mission can sign up on his website plugmeinproject.com.
Wakker was the first person to cross Turkey, Iran, India, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia in a fully electric vehicle. Never before has someone travelled through this many countries in a battery powered car.
The current world-record ‘longest distance covered in an electric vehicle’ of 22.000 km has already been broken by him. Wakker has driven 66.000 km so far and will have added many more by the time he reaches Sydney. The journey through Australia will go from Darwin to Perth, Port Augusta, Alice Springs, Townsville, Adelaide, Melbourne and eventually finish in Sydney.
Road trip with a goal
Wakker’s goal is to promote electric mobility and raise awareness for sustainable initiatives. With his car, Wakker makes stops at companies and initiatives who are active in the field of sustainability. Wakker wants to show the environmental challenges in the various countries he crosses and what innovative solutions are available.
Full reports can be seen on the website plugmeinproject.com.