Abu Dhabi: Imagine crisscrossing the world in an electric car without any money, your route being determined by anyone willing to provide you with food, shelter and a chance to recharge your vehicle. Far-fetched as the idea may seem, that is what a 29-year-old Dutchman, who is currently passing through the UAE, is doing.
The adventurous Wiebe Wakker, who set out for Australia from the Netherlands on March 15, said he arrived in the UAE from Iran last Tuesday as part of a unique global mission to promote sustainability in daily life and showcase the possibility of covering long distances in e-cars. His blue Volkwagen Golf - with the number plate 17-JND-2 - is a 2009 diesel converted into an electric car. Wakker said he travels without money and relies on the support that people offer him on his website plugmeinproject.com. “People have been supporting me with a meal, place to sleep or energy for the car. Based upon these offers, I decide on the route of my journey. So I am not driving in a straight line to the land down under but zigzaging my way across the world.”
Wakker, who is currently putting up with a family in Palm Jumeirah, said he has 10 offers from residents across Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “I have received offers from 700 people across 40 countries, 22 of which I have covered so far, clocking 34,000km over 275 days.”
When Wakker left in March from Utrecht in the Netherlands, his followers first sent him to Italy, then via Scandinavia to Russia and from Moscow he started his route down south via the Baltic states, Ukraine, Turkey and Iran.
He was overwhelmed by the more than 80 offers he received in Iran. “I must have taken up to 30 of them covering 2,500 km across the country before crossing the desert and reaching the Gulf.”
With this, it is believed that he is the first person to have crossed Iran in an electric car.
Wakker said his next stop will be Mumbai, but he cannot go until he gets the support to ship his car. “I am trying to find someone who can arrange the transportation.”
He said he is not sure how the journey will eventually develop but plans to make the most of his stay in the UAE “When I left in March I could never have imagined that I would end up in this country. That I made it this far with an electric car feels good and I don’t give up easily. Since I will be here for a while, I plan to take part in the Global Electric Vehicle Road Trip that takes place at the end of January. The emirates-wide event promotes sustainable mobility, one of my key goals.”