In an epic road trip spanning more than three years, 33 countries, and roughly 94,951km, Dutchman Weibe Wakker set what is believed to be the record for the ‘world’s longest trip’ by an electric car, yesterday.
Wakker set out from Amsterdam in the Netherlands on March 15, 2016, as part of his Plug Me In project. The trip was mostly funded by donations, plus some sponsorships from companies like Bundles (a washing machine rental company), Canon, and Adobe. Volunteers could sign up via Wakker’s site to offer a meal, places to sleep, or even an outlet for him to charge his car. As for Wakker’s car, the intrepid Dutchman didn’t opt for a well-known electric vehicle (EV) like a Tesla. Instead, he drove in a retrofitted station wagon dubbed “The Blue Bandit” that got about 200km on a single charge.
According to Wakker’s site, the route itself was determined by where kind strangers would let him charge his car. The trip took him down through Eastern Europe, through Turkey, Iran, and the Middle East, before crossing into India, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and finally, Australia.
Wakker told the AFP that before modifying his car, it would’ve likely used around 6,814l of fuel to make the trip. However, all-in-all Wakker spent a mere $423 on electricity, most of which he said was in the Australian Outback.
“It took some effort but overall I had a pretty easy trip, made possible by hundreds of people who signed up on my website, offered help on the way, or people online who reached out to help,” Wakker wrote on his Instagram. “People are congratulating me as I have show[n] the possibilities of electric cars but I am more happy with all the help I received from people during my journey.”
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I MADE IT!!! What an incredible day! We started with an Electric Parade driving from the North of Sydney to the @rbgsydney! I expected a few cars to join but there were at least 40, maybe even more! Thanks everyone who attended the parade! At 3pm I arrived at the Botanic Garden and there were a lot of people waiting for me and even two helicopters from news channels who were doing a live broadcast of the arrival, pretty insane! So glad I made it. It took some effort but overall I had a pretty easy trip, made possible by hundreds of people who signed up on my website, offered help on the way or people online who reached out to help. People are congratulating me as I have show the possibilities of electric cars but I am more happy with all the help I received from people during my journey. Wow what a trip! Big thanks to @bundles_official for supporting me the Blue Bandit and letting me drive it all the way to Sydney. Also thanks to SSE Australia for supporting the event and the Royal Botanic Garden for hosting me at the most beautiful spot in the world! Wowowwow. I’m going to party now and full with adrenaline! #PlugMeIn #Finish #wow #Amazing #nowords #hashtag
EVs have come a long way since they were first introduced, and Wakker isn’t the only EV enthusiast to try long-distance trips (though he certainly travelled the furthest). Two men in Denver set the record distance on a single charge with a Model 3 Tesla last year, hitting 975km before the car’s battery called it quits.