Can an Electric Car Drive From Amsterdam to Australia?

This Dutchman took an 89,000 km trip to prove that electric vehicles are ready for mass adoption.

Feb 21, 2019

Wiebe Wakker is a man with a mission, and he is willing to go the extra mile to make a point. That's why he drove an electric car from his native Holland all the way to Australia to show that electric cars are a viable alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles.

He arrived in Adelaide at the end of January in an adventure that took 1050 days on the road. He described his trip, named Plug Me In as a purpose-driven adventure with the goals of inspiring, educating and accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon future.

Wakker left the Netherlands on March 15, 2016, in a 2009 Volkswagen Golf that was converted to electric that he calls the Blue Bandit. His ultimate destination is Sydney Australia. He drove 89,000 km through 33 countries across Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, and Australia without using a drop of fuel.

He left without any cash or plastic and relied on the kindness of strangers on the way for food, lodging, and electricity to charge the Blue Bandit on the way. He made Plug Me In a collaboration and his route was determined by the people who offered help along the way.

Wakker made a point of engaging sustainable initiatives, companies, and organizations along the way to highlight the environmental challenges in every country and to help promote key solutions. He is a one-man sustainability cheerleader.

“Electric vehicles are a significant part of the solution to the global environmental problem we all share, sadly the uptake of electric cars is going slow mainly because there are a lot of prejudices, people believe they are not reliable or not fit to cover long distances. By driving from Holland to literally the other side of the world I hope to change peoples' mind.” Wakker told the Northwest Star.

Wakker spend over seven months traveling around Australia and he will quit when he reaches Sydney. He wants to show the people down under who are concerned about the lack of charging stations and the range of electric vehicles that EVs will work for them.

Australia has one of the lowest rate of electric vehicles in the developed world. In 2016, only 0.1% of all new car sales were electric, compared to 29% in Norway, 6% in the Netherlands and 1.5%in China and the UK.

“In Australia the infrastructure for electric cars is still getting off the ground, but it’s already possible to drive all around Australia using charging stations,” Wakker told The Guardian Australia. “My car is from 2009 and it has a limited range of 200km. Most cars that are available on the market now do 300km to 500km, so if you buy a current car in Australia you won’t have this problem. You can cover the whole country.”

Wakker shared his journey on the Plug Me In Facebook page and on Twitter. On February 10, he was cruising around Kangaroo Island with his host David.

With his journey almost over, Wakker waxes philosophical. “I expected that by this time I would be exhausted and starving but I’m still having a lot of fun,” he told The Guardian Australia from Adelaide. “I’m actually a little bit sad that I’m coming to the end of the journey.”

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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