A Dutch man who has driven 89,000km from Amsterdam to Adelaide in a small electric vehicle (EV) said he is proving to Australians that electric vehicles are a viable alternative.
Since March 2016, Wiebe Wakker has driven across 33 countries from Europe to the Middle East to Southeast Asia and finally to Australia in a 2009 Volkswagen Golf, converted to electric.
Over the past seven months, he has continued the journey around Australia from Darwin to Perth, across the Nullarbor to Newcastle, up to Queensland, and back down to Adelaide. After Adelaide, Wakker is to finish once he reaches Melbourne and then Sydney.
“I expected that by this time I would be exhausted and starving, but I’m still having a lot of fun,” he told Guardian Australia from Adelaide. “I’m actually a little bit sad that I’m coming to the end.”
By driving such extreme distances, Wakker said he hopes to bust Australian anxieties over the lack of charging stations and how far electric cars can travel.
Australia has one of the slowest uptakes of EVs in the developed world. In 2016, only 0.1 percent of all new car sales were electric, compared with 29 percent in Norway, 6 percent in Wakker’s native Netherlands and 1.5 percent in China and the UK.
“In Australia the infrastructure for electric cars is still getting off the ground, but it’s already possible to drive all around Australia using charging stations,” he said.
“A lot of people say they are just waiting for the price to come down. Others say the electric car is just not viable for Australia because the distances are so big, which is a bit weird I think. The average daily commute is just 20km or so,” he said.
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