Dutch traveller stops in at UOW’s Sustainable Buildings Research Institute

Wiebe Wakker is looking worn out and tired. But it is understandable, considering he has just driven from one side of the planet to the other, covering more than 90,000 kms in three years, two weeks and four days.

The 32-year-old from the Netherlands has almost finished the adventure of a lifetime, driving through 33 countries. All in a quest to promote electric cars and sustainability.

It was crowdfunded by a host of people along the way who supported him with a meal, a place to sleep, or electricity for his electric vehicle.

“I’ve tried to show the world about the advantages of electric vehicles, and that no distance is too far when it comes to driving on plug in power,” Mr Wakker says.

“People don’t want to drive an electric car yet because people think they are not reliable and can’t cover long distances. So, I set out to prove them wrong.”

Mr Wakker dropped into the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre at the University of Wollongong’s Innovation Campus to take a quick tour, meet up with fellow sustainability activist and countryman Professor Marc in het Panhuis, and top up his Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen, which is converted to run on battery-electric power.

When asked what has been the highlight of his adventure, Mr Wakker thinks for a minute.

“There are really so many. I met with countless great people along the way, and photographed some of the most amazing landscapes from the Arabian Seas to Central Australia.”

Mr Wakker says there was always a dual purpose to taking on such a mammoth task when he decided to drive across the globe.

“I’ve always had a passion for adventure and travel, and I guess I just combined that with my interests in climate change and sustainability.”

Mr Wakker’s journey officially ends in Sydney on April 7.

Words by Paul Jones. Originally published on UOW newsroom

Photo: Professor Marc in het Panhuis with Wiebe Wakker. Credit: Paul Jones