It took more than three years, but Wiebe Wakker has completed the world’s longest-ever journey by electric car.
Wakker and his trusty EV partner Blue Bandit left the Netherlands on March 15, 2016, sights set on Sydney, Australia—”the other side of the world.”
With no money and no real direction, the 30-something Dutchman relied entirely on the kindness of strangers: People were invited to contribute via his Plug Me In project website by offering a meal, a place to sleep, or electricity for Blue Bandit, a retrofitted station wagon.
More than simply recharging his batteries, folks also helped to set the journey’s route as Wakker traveled from plug to plug, all in the name of accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon future.
“I believe everyone can contribute to a more sustainable world,” Wakker said. “I try to do my part by showing the possibilities of sustainable mobility.”
During his journey—through Europe, Africa, and Asia—the driver visited companies, events, and inspiring people to make a (forthcoming) documentary about the twisted road trip and natural resources.
“I wanted to change people’s opinions and inspire people to start driving electric by showing the advantages of sustainable mobility,” Wakker said in a statement to the AFP.
“If one man can drive to the other side of the world in an electric car, then EVs should definitely be viable for daily use,” he added.
Pre-modification, Blue Bandit would have used some 1,800 gallons of gas to complete the journey. The electric version, however, can travel 125 miles on a single charge; Wakker spent about $300 on electricity—mostly in the remote desert Outback of Australia.
Early this year, Chinese automaker NIO’s all-electric sport utility vehicle ES8 nabbed the Guinness World Record for the highest altitude achieved in an electric car: 18,751 feet at the Purog Kangri glacier in Tibet.
Driver Chen Haiyi led the NIO ES8 to the world’s third-largest glacier to show off the SUV’s reliability and energy supply at high altitudes and in extremely cold areas, as well as the company’s problem-solving ability in extreme conditions.