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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 19 July 2018

Two-year electric-car road trip that visited UAE reaches final country of epic journey

Wiebe Wakker is 827 days into his Plug Me In project, which began in March 2016

Wiebe Wakker celebrates reaching Darwin in Australia in his electric Volkswagen on day 827 of his road trip. Plug Me In
Wiebe Wakker celebrates reaching Darwin in Australia in his electric Volkswagen on day 827 of his road trip. Plug Me In

After traversing 33 countries across three continents, including a jaunt through the UAE, an electric-car driver has reached the final nation on an epic road trip from the Netherlands to Australia.

Dutch green motoring advocate Wiebe Wakker, 31, began his journey in March 2016, with the intention of spreading the message about the suitability of electric cars for daily use, travelling without money and asking for people en route to provide him a place to sleep and charge his car.

Wakker reached Darwin in Australia on Tuesday, day 827 of his trip, after following a route determined by offers of shelter and electric juice. A total of 1,450 people from 45 countries have so far contributed to his Plug Me In project.

His retrofitted Volkswagen Golf estate, nicknamed the Blue Bandit, is powered by a 37kWh lithium-ion battery and has a range of 200 kilometres – it has already travelled 66,000km, tripling the previous world record for the longest distance covered by an electric vehicle.

The route of Wiebe Wakker's journey so far. Plug Me In
The route of Wiebe Wakker's journey so far. Plug Me In

The trip hasn’t been without some drama, however. “I encountered strong setbacks during the journey,” Wakker recalls. “The charger exploded in India which needed to be repaired and later in Indonesia water came into the battery pack and this damaged the battery severely, causing me to stay in Surabaya for three months. Also, I got stuck a few times as I had no funds to continue.”

Last year, he navigated through the UAE, including making a recharging stop at Dubai International Airport, and joined the inaugural Emirates Electric Vehicle Road Trip. The journey will reach its ultimate destination in Sydney.

Anybody in Australia who wants to help with the final leg of the journey can do so via www.plugmeinproject.com, where you can also read his regular vlogs from on the road.

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