5 Feb 2019

Amsterdam to Sydney in an EV

From Nine To Noon, 11:35 am on 5 February 2019

Wiebe Wakker has just driven an electric vehicle from Holland to Australia.

He actually left the Netherlands three years ago, in his converted Volkwagen named the Blue Bandit and has driven through 33 countries in his EV, which has a range of 200km - in a bid to dispel any myths or apprehensions about the reliability of electric cars.

The project is called Plug Me In.

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Photo: supp

Throughout his journey Wakker found people happy to allow him to charge up his car, share a meal, sleep for the night before setting off again.

He's now within reach of his ultimate destination of Sydney and spoke to Kathryn Ryan from Adelaide.

"I never planned the route, the route is planned along the way from offers I received along the way," he says.

He says 1600 people from 45 different countries signed up to Plug Me in and invited him to stay.

Since then he has travelled 89,000 km through 33 countries in 1035 days

“Without ever visiting a single fuel station on the way which I think is the best part of the whole trip.”

Wakker arrived in Darwin Australia seven weeks ago and it has stretched the EV’s range to the limit

With my car I can do about 200km on one charge and in Australia sometimes the distances have been more, one time it was 255km in that case I waited 12 hours until I had a tail wind to save as much energy as possible and I did 235km on one charge.”

He then had to slap on the sunscreen and wait for a tow …. This happened six times in Australia.

India also proved a challenge, he says.

“One time in India I tried to charge the car and there was a short circuit at the house and that caused one of the two chargers to explode, so I had to repair the charger.”

But that was the only major incident on the whole trip from Holland to Australia, he says.

He hopes his journey will prove that people’s range anxieties are ill-founded, but he acknowledges there are other barriers stopping people signing up for EVs.

“The initial cost of buying an electric vehicle is still pretty high, because the price of the battery is still expensive and that determines the cost of the whole car.

Even though over the life of the vehicle you will save money because the cost of maintaining an electric vehicle is very low, you will save also on fuelling your car because electricity is about one fourth of the price of petrol, but people find the initial cost of electric vehicles too high.”

In Australia lack of charging infrastructure is holding back market take up, he says.

Wakker says when he gets home he will write a book about his trip and also plans to make a movie.

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