Wiebe Wakker took one very long drive in an electric car—for a total of 1119 days, covering 59,000 miles and traversing portions of 33 countries on the way from the Netherlands to Australia.
It was, by just about any standard, an epic road trip.
Wakker reached Sydney last Sunday, April 7, and was welcomed with a parade of EVs, across the Harbour Bridge, through the city, to the Royal Botanic Garden.
Wiebe Wakker in Sydney
He claims to have made the trip “without money”—with the fuel for his trip revolving around the goodwill of electric-vehicle fans and people along the way, as he aimed “to inspire, educate, and accelerate the transition to a zero carbon future.”
Wakker’s Plug Me In project site became not only a sort of travelogue, but a place where he could solicit meals, places to charge the car, and places to sleep along the way. He also accepted donations, including some creative ways to sponsor him along the way, such as asking him to write a postcard and hiring him as a driver for the day.
In all, Wakker recently said he received 1707 offers of such kindness.
For Wakker, who studied event management at Utrecht University of Arts, in the Netherlands, and organized Plug Me In as part of his coursework there, it was from the start “a road trip with a twist,” with stops to visit “organizations, people, and companies who are active in the field of sustainability.”
The trip produced lots of interesting videos, as he became familiar with those people and the sights along the way.
Wiebe Wakker Plugmein.com round the world journey Netherlands to Australia
His car was an all-electric version of the Golf Variant (wagon), fitted with an AC propulsion drivetrain with a top speed of 112 mph. Its 37-kwh battery pack resulted in a range of about 124 miles.
Wakker determined his route based on the offers he received, which is why he took a particularly circuitous route from the Netherlands through Europe and then up to the northern tip of Scandinavia, before heading down through Turkey, Iran, and India, among other points. Earlier this year, Wakker claimed to be the first person to cross Myanmar (Burma) solely in an electric car.
According to the Australian site The Driven, Wakker used 17 megawatt hours of electricity on the entire trip—electricity that he estimates would total more than $4,000 ($A5,608). The closest model to compare it to in the U.S. market, the 2019 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, earns 25 mpg combined in its most popular (automatic) form. Even with cheap U.S. gas, going electric saved a lot of money as well as carbon emissions.
Which leads us to the question of whether Wakker is thinking about extending such a trip to the Americas. At an earlier point he hadn’t ruled it out; but Wakker, perhaps in a well-deserved break from connectivity and electric cars, hadn’t yet responded to Green Car Reports at this time.
We can’t do this trip justice on a single page, and we’d best recommend you click through the site; it’s hours of Sunday amusement, and inspiring.