A Dutchman arrived in Myanmar this week driving an electric car.
On March 15, 2016, Wiebe Wakker from Plug Me In left the Netherlands for what later turned out to become a thrilling road trip crossing 26 countries and 50,000 kilometers driven. Plug Me In is a road trip from the Netherlands to Australia by electric car. Wakker travels without money but shares energy to make his way to ‘the land down under’ relying completely on social media. His website plugmeinproject.com offers people the opportunity to support him with a meal, place to sleep or energy for the car. So far more than 1,000 people from 40 countries and 5 continents plugged him in. Based upon these offers the route is decided and this endeavor made him zigzagging all around Europe, he became the first ever to cross the Middle East and now after 457 days Wiebe reached Myanmar.
Until last week it was not sure if Wakker could complete the road trip through India as he faced problem after problem. It started with a broken coil spring and later his car got detained by the Bangladesh’ customs which forced him to return to India and drive all the way around Bangladesh. A race against the clock began as the entry date for Myanmar was fixed and the monsoon season would hit. With his modified electric station wagon this would become a dangerous journey.
What seemed to be a big problem became the least of his worries as his 3-phase charger got destroyed and the lower arms worn out. His car had to be transported to the nearest city by truck but drivers didn’t had the right tools to offload the car in Guwahati and it took 3 days before Wakker found a trains station from where the car could be offloaded. After 8 days in Assam’s capital the journey could be continued.
Many people reached out for help, both offline and online. Locals helped him find a truck to transport the car. In Guwahati people offered him a place to stay and assisted him with finding a solution to offload the car. Through social media people gave tips, people even made technical drawings with calculations how to get the car from a 1.20 meter high platform. “The help that I received is heartwarming and it made me realize I am not doing this alone.” Wakker says. “I came a long way to India and this was the first time I encountered problems of this size, but I made it and feel stronger to reach my endgoal Australia.”
On the 14th of June Wakker reached Myanmar. “This country is not well-known to most people and like I did before I want to show my followers the culture, landscapes and spirits of the country.” Wakker says.
The solo-traveler is sharing his experiences on social media and gained thousands of followers during his journey. “I heard the country is beautiful and looking forward to explore this special country and interact with locals to learn about the culture of Myanmar,” Wakker said.
Plug Me In’s mission is to raise more awareness on electric vehicles and research how the world is developing on the terms of sustainability. In all the countries Wakker crosses he speaks with governmental organizations and companies about their vision on sustainability. Videos and reports about these encounters can be seen on his website plugmeinproject.com and after the journey a documentary will be made about his findings.