GEORGE TOWN: A Dutchman is trying to demonstrate to humanity that there is no reason to be addicted to fossil fuel.
Wiebe Wakker is attempting this by travelling from The Netherlands to Australia in an electric car that has a range of 200km from a single charge, and boasts of a top speed of 260kph.
“The electric car I’m travelling in was sponsored by an energy company in my country, and there are many who have been willing to sponsor my expenses after seeing my conviction in promoting sustainability,” said Wakker of his Volkswagen Golf modified in 2009 at a cost of 100,000 euro (RM488,000).
“I wanted to do a road trip, and since I will be travelling in an electric car, sustainability could be a good subject to talk about,” said Wakker, who confessed that he is neither into automobiles, nor anything to do with car maintenance.
“I don’t know much about cars and wasn’t really interested in them. I only learned how to change tyres two weeks before I left,” said Wakker, 30, who dropped by at the Star Northern Hub after reaching Penang from Thailand on Wednesday.
He crossed over 28 countries since he began 16 months ago, and have given talks on sustainbility in embassies, colleges, universities and to journalists along the way.
“What began as a road trip initially has become a mission where I promote clean and green energy,” said Wakker, who added that the journey is far from being a walk in the park.
For example, in places like India, he had to charge his car for 40 to 50 hours each time.
“India has frequent power cuts, and there were places where the supply is only 6A (amperes) while the car requires 60A to be charged.
“There were times I had to ship the car, like from Dubai to Mumbai, at a pretty high cost, borne by a sponsor.”
Wakker, who has a bachelor’s degree in arts and economics, worked at several places during his trip to fund his journey.
“Australia will be the final destination, which I plan to reach in four or five months,” said Wakker, who will head to Singapore, before crossing to Indonesia.
“I will probably start travelling again after taking a break when I return to Holland, probably to countries which I haven’t been to like China and the United States,” he added.
More information on Wakker’s quest can be found at www.plugmeinproject.com.