For the past three years, Netherlands native Wiebe Wakker has travelled more than 100,000km, visited 34 countries, and not once visited a petrol station.

He set a world record for the longest car trip in an electric vehicle. His car, named the Blue Bandit, is a former petrol, now electric charged car with a range of 200km on a charge with a top speed of 180km/h.

The Blue Bandit is a converted Volkswagen Golf with a range of 200km per charge. The electric car has a 150 KW motor with a top speed of 180km/h that is driven by AC Propulsion. The car is fully electric with a 37 kwh li-ion battery located at the rear.

It has a manual transmission with just one gear, second, and reverse.

Advertisement
Wieb Wakker's car the Blue Bandit is a converted petrol car that can travel up to 200km on a single charge. Photo / Tom Rowland
Wieb Wakker's car the Blue Bandit is a converted petrol car that can travel up to 200km on a single charge. Photo / Tom Rowland

Mr Wakker's trip took him from the Netherlands, across Europe and Asia, over to Australia before coming to New Zealand to drive from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island.

His trip was about showing the world that electric vehicles are viable, and on Wednesday, while travelling through the Waikato Mr Wakker visited Works Infrastructure Ltd in Hamilton, the base of Hamilton City Council's Infrastructure Alliance and Downer.

The trip was well timed as Downer have recently added electric vehicles to their fleet, including cars, motorcycles and rubbish trucks.

Mr Wakker, who spoke to Downer employees about his travel experiences, said New Zealand was at the forefront when it came to infrastructure for electric vehicles.

"New Zealand is actually in a strong position when it comes to infrastructure needed for electric cars, as there are plenty of chargers around the country," Mr Wakker said.

In September 2018, the Government announced that 10,000 electric vehicles were on New Zealand roads, that number stood at only 210 in 2013.

The Waikato has 18 electric car charge stations across the region, with more under construction or awaiting connection.

He said using the fast chargers around the country his car is fully charged in 20 minutes, but in places where there are no chargers it takes him 10 hours to charge the vehicle.

Advertisement

Mr Wakker started his journey from the Netherlands in 2016, and based his trip on where he had offers to stay.

"I had about 180 offers when I started, from over 30 countries around the world. I started driving and went to Italy, and I thought this is good because we are already heading south; however, when I got to Italy I didn't have any offers so I headed back north and took the scenic route to Australia via Scandinavia."

He said each day he would aim to travel 200km, with his battery running flat for the first time in Norway.

"I had to find a place to charge my car so I just started walking around and approached some people having a barbecue, they got to know me and let me stay overnight and that was just one of the common themes of the trip."

His car is a first generation electric vehicle which allowed him to plug into common electric sockets in homes.

Once reaching the United Arab Emirates, Mr Wakker had to spend two months working to earn enough money to ship his car to Malaysia, and again when he travelled to Australia.

The Blue Bandit at a charging station in Omarama while travelling from Mount Cook to Queenstown. Photo / Plug Me In Facebook
The Blue Bandit at a charging station in Omarama while travelling from Mount Cook to Queenstown. Photo / Plug Me In Facebook

In Australia, he said the infrastructure is still lacking for electric vehicles, and found it difficult to travel from Glendambo to Coober Pedy in South Australia.

"It was 250km and I could only travel 200km on a single charge," Mr Wakker said.
"So I checked on my app to see how the wind was going, I saw that 12 hours later I would have a tailwind so I waited.
"I did 235km, which was my record. Just 20km from Coober Pedy I ran out, I put on a lot of sunscreen and stuck my thumb out waiting for someone to give me a tow."

His trip finally came to an end just over a week ago when he arrived in Bluff, New Zealand, finishing his three year trip.