Driving a converted electric car from Holland to Australia, relying on gifts


What do you do when the year you planned for your round-the-world trip in an electric car turns into two—and you still haven't reached your destination?

If you're taking such an ambitious trip, it helps to have a name as whimsical as Wiebe Wakker. He's the Dutchman undertaking this adventure in a Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen converted to run on battery-electric power.

He's driving 60,000 miles, or more, from the Netherlands to Australia.

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He's also depending on gifts and donations from the general public and people he meets along the way for his food, shelter, and battery charging.

That's an adventurous plan—more adventurous, perhaps, than dependable.

Finding willing patrons to support his journey also dictates his route, which helps explain why he went to Italy after leaving the Netherlands and heading to the north of Norway, then pointed his wheel south to Iran and across the Arabian Sea.

Wiebe Wakker Plugmein.com round the world journey Netherlands to Australia

Wiebe Wakker Plugmein.com round the world journey Netherlands to Australia

 

A few weeks ago, Wakker claimed to be the first person in the world to travel entirely through Myanmar (formerly Burma) in an electric car.

So far, he's made it halfway around the world, but Wakker has found it slow going across the massive island chain that makes up Indonesia on his way to Australia.

At this writing, he's spent 750 days on the road and is now in Lombok.

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Idyllic as his island adventures sound, they have not come without challenges, from expensive ferry rides—more than $90 for a four-hour ferry ride from Java to Lombok—and battery charging that could be exceptionally slow.

After running an extension cord over a fence to a hotel reception desk, he was happy to get about a 50 percent charge overnight at a mere 7 amps on a 230-volt circuit.

Given longer-range cars like the Chevrolet Bolt EV, new Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3 that now being delivered globally, the whole endeavor sounds just a bit like 1999. 

Still, in every port-of-call, Wakker is surrounded by like-minded souls who host educational events on sustainability and green transportation around his visits.

Some of the lessons are part of the regular curriculum  for schoolchildren; others seem inspired by Wakker's wacky electric car and his peripatetic journey.

If  adventures relying on the kindness of strangers sounds endearing to you—especially if you're located between Bali and Australia and can offer a bed, a breakfast, or a plug—you can look him up at Plug Me In on Facebook or on his Plug Me In Project website.

You may find Wakker more than happy to pay you a visit.

 
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