Perth, Australia - A Dutch man dubbing himself the ‘electric explorer’ has set a new long distance record for electric cars by driving 70 000km on purely battery power.
But the most interesting part is that Wiebe Wakker relied on good old ubuntu to keep him going along his epic two-and-a-half-year journey from Amsterdam in The Netherlands to Perth in Australia: he travels without money and relies on the kindness of people around the world to keep him going.
Wakker's project ‘Plug Me In’ asked people to contribute a meal, place to sleep or electricity for his converted electric car through crowdsourcing. The route of the journey was determined by these offers via his plugmeinproject.com website, which made Wakker zigzag around the world, crossing 33 countries and driving those 70 000km without visiting a single fuel station.
After departing Amsterdam on 15 March 2016, it took Wakker 827 days to reach Darwin in northern Australia after a thrilling road trip through Europe, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia and earlier this week he reached Perth on the western coast of Australia.
“Arriving on Australia’s shores already felt like a big accomplishment and now having reached Perth I am very proud that I can also show everyone that it is possible to reach one of the world’s most isolated cities in an electric car.”
This explorer’s goal is to dispel the myth that electric vehicles cannot match their fossil fuel-powered cousins when it comes to endurance. Wakker reports that Australia has been the most generous country on his long journey, with over 350 people offering him accommodation. The majority of them live in the bigger cities which made coming down from remote Darwin a challenge, especially with his car, nicknamed the ‘Blue Bandit’, having a range of just 200 km on one charge.
But Wakker received help from roadhouses, Aboriginal communities and farms to get him to Perth. Wakker's stay in Perth will be a comfortable one as over 40 people have invited him to their homes.
Wakker’s 70 000km distance on electric power is reportedly a new world record, surpassing the 22 000km previously achieved, and this will be further extended once he reaches Sydney on the other side of Australia.
“My goal is to educate, inspire and accelerate the transition to a zero carbon future,” says Wakker. With the Blue Bandit, he engages with companies and initiatives who are active in the field of sustainability. Wakker wants to show what the environmental challenges are in the various countries he crosses and what innovative solutions are available. For more details of his journey visit his website plugmeinproject.com.