Crisscrossing the world in an electric car without any money; the route being determined by anyone willing to provide food, shelter and a chance to recharge his vehicle. Far-fetched as this idea may seem, that is what 30-year-old Wiebe Wakker, currently passing through Malaysia, is doing.
The adventurous Dutchman who set out for Australia from the Netherlands on 15th March, 2016, arrived in Malaysia from Thailand just over a week ago as part of a unique global mission to promote sustainability in daily life and showcase electric vehicles.
Wakker relies on the the crowd to reach his goal. His website plugmeinproject.com offers people the opportunity to support him with energy. So far, more than 1,000 people from 45 countries and 5 continents have plugged him in. The route is also determined by this generosity which has seen Wakker zigzagging across Europe. He later became the first ever person to cross the Middle East and India by electric car and now, 483 days later, Wakker has reached Kuala Lumpur.
Wakker is very relieved to have reached Malaysia, he says, “The past weeks have been very hectic. In India I encountered challenge after challenge. It started small with a broken coil spring, it became more problematic when his retrofitted VW Golf Station Wagon got detained by Bangladeshi customs and when the charger got damaged because of a short circuit it became very challenging. His car had to be transported to the nearest city but it got stuck in a warehouse where there was no ramp to drive it back to street level and it took 3 days before a solution was found.
Through all this the solo-traveller never had the feeling he was alone on his mission. “In many ways, both offline and online, help was offered,” he said. “Locals offered me a place to stay and then helped finding a place to offload the car. People following Wiebe online were able to provide technical drawings about how to offload the car from the truck. “It’s just amazing how so many people want to help me reach my goal, at each stage and through each challenge of the journey,” Wakker remarked.
“Eventually I made it on time into Myanmar, then over 11 days I crossed the whole country, immediately followed by another hectic trip through Thailand. In both countries, mandatory guides and permits are needed which was expensive; every day I needed to move on. This made it really tough, but now I am in Malaysia I don’t have that stress anymore. I have 90 days to recover but, most of all, to discover what the country has to offer in terms of sustainability.”
Plug Me In’s mission is to raise more awareness around electric vehicles and sustainable living. Wakker loves to take locals for testdrives to show the benefits of driving without fuel. Many people believe electric cars and not ready for daily use yet but Wakker shows the contrary. “Through fun and excitement I am demonstrating that electric cars are ready for the future. They are fast, silent and the range is already enough for people to use for daily activities,” Wakker states. In every country Wakker crosses, he speaks with governmental organisations and gives lectures about sustainable mobility at universities and embassies. Videos and reports about these encounters can be seen on his website plugmeinproject.com and after the journey he will complete a documentary about all he has discovered on this amazing adventure.