The PlugMeIn Project – The Netherlands to Australia in an electric car (SUBTITLES INCLUDED)

The PlugMeIn Project – The Netherlands to Australia in an electric car (SUBTITLES INCLUDED)


WIEBE: MY NAME IS WIEBE WAKKER. I’M FROM THE NETHERLANDS. I HAVE STUDIED EVENT MANAGEMENT. INTERVIEWER: ABOUT THIS JOURNEY YOU’RE DOING WITH PLUG ME IN, TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT THAT. YOUR INSPIRATION FOR IT WHY DID YOU START OFF ON THIS JOURNEY? WHAT WAS THE REASON BEHIND IT? WIEBE: I WANTED TO TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD. MY PASSION IS TRAVELLING. I DIDN’T WANT TO BE THE STANDARD GUY WHO GOES FROM HOSTEL TO HOSTEL. I WANTED TO DO SOMETHING CREATIVE AND UNIQUE. AND, UM, I WANTED TO DO A ROAD TRIP. ON ROAD TRIPS YOU HAVE FREEDOM AND YOU CAN GO WHEREVER YOU WANT. IT WAS IN 2015 WHILE I WAS ORGANIZING IT AND THOUGHT WHY NOT DO IT IN AN ELECTRIC CAR? DURING MY STUDIES, I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO START MY OWN PROJECTS AND SO I MADE THIS MY GRADUATION PROJECT. THAT’S HOW I CAME UP WITH THIS IDEA. INTERVIEWER: HAVE YOU, SINCE A YOUNG AGE, BEEN INTERESTED IN SUSTAINABLE ENERGY, GREEN TECH, ETC., OR WAS THIS RECENT? SOMETHING THAT OCCURRED TO YOU RECENTLY WIEBE: I WAS NOT REALLY VERY MUCH INTERESTED IN IT. WHEN I STARTED ORGANISING THIS PROJECT A LOT OF PEOPLE TOLD ME, ‘YOU’RE GOING TO TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD IN AN ELECTRIC CAR AND YOU’LL BE USING ONLY WHAT YOU NEED, SO YOU’LL BE LIVING IN A VERY BASIC WAY. SO WHY DON’T YOU DO SOMETHING FOR SUSTAINABILITY. I THOUGHT THAT WOULD BE VERY BORING AS I WASN’T REALLY INTO SUSTAINABILITY. SO I STARTED DOING SOME RESEARCH ABOUT WHAT SUSTAINABILITY IS AND FOUND OUT YOU CAN SOME PRETTY COOL THINGS WITH SUSTAINABILITY. SO THAT’S WHEN I STARTED GETTING INTO SUSTAINABILITY. I THOUGHT, OK, I SHOULD DO SOMETHING WITH THE SUBJECT BUT I’M NOT GOING TO BE SOME KIND OF MESSENGER. I’M GOING TO FIND OUT WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT MEANS TO ME AND ALSO PROVE YOU CAN DO SOME PRETTY COOL THINGS WITH SUSTAINABILITY INTERVIEWER: YOU’RE VERY YOUNG; YOU’RE ONLY 29 YEARS OLD. WHILE SETTING OUT ON THE JOURNEY, DID YOU THINK THAT I’M AN INSPIRATION, THAT I’M SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE MY AGE OR MY COUNTRYMEN OF MY AGE OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT? WIEBE: NO, THIS WAS JUST SOMETHING I REALLY WANTED TO DO. IT WAS MY DREAM. I DO HEAR THIS FROM OTHERS SOMETIMES, BUT [SHRUGS]. INTERVIEWER: TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES, BECAUSE I HEARD ON YOUR WEBSITE THAT YOUR EUROPE TRIP WAS PRETTY EASY. YOU DIDN’T REALLY FACE MANY PROBLEMS ONCE YOU REACHED ASIA, THINGS BECAME A LITTLE MORE COMPLICATED FINDING A PLACE TO CHARGE AND ALL THAT TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT THOSE EXPERIENCES. WIEBE: IN ASIA, IT HASN’T BEEN DIFFICULT TO FIND CHARGING PLACES OR SOMETHING BUT BUT YEAH, IT WAS A LITTLE MORE WORK, BECAUSE YOU NEED VISAS AND YOU NEED TEMPORARY CAR INSURANCES. YOU NEED TO FIND OUT HOW THINGS WORK HERE, AS THEY’RE A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT SOMETIMES. INTERVIEWER: AND YOU HAD A VISA MISHAP BEFORE YOU REACHED DUBAI? INTERVIEWER: YOU HAD SOME KIND OF VISA INCIDENT? WIEBE: YEAH. I NEEDED TO GET MY VISA FOR INDIA I SAW ON THE INTERNET THAT IT TOOK ONE OR TWO DAYS BEFORE YOU GOT YOUR VISA BUT WHEN I WENT TO THE VISA OFFICE, THEY SAID IT CAN TAKE UPTO 15 DAYS AND IF I WOULD HAVE GOT IT AFTER 15 DAYS MY VISA FOR THE UAE WOULD ALREADY HAVE EXPIRED I HAD TO GO [INAUDIBLE] TO SAVE UP SOME DAYS, BUT IN THE END IT TOOK ONLY FOUR DAYS TO GET THE VISA INTERVIEWER: CONTINUING FROM THAT, TELL ME A LITTLE ABOUT ACCOMMODATION AND ALSO ABOUT FINDING THE MONEY TO DO ALL THIS. YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU HAD BEEN DOING SOME WORK IN DUBAI, BUT IN ADDITION TO THAT, WHAT OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME DO YOU HAVE TO FUND THE JOURNEY WIEBE: THE GOAL IS TO DO THIS WITHOUT MONEY. I RELY ON ORDINARY PEOPLE FOR ENERGY, FOOD, AND A PLACE TO SLEEP WHEN I DO NEED MONEY FOR SOMETHING LIKE A VISA, I EXCHANGE STUFF. I GIVE SOMEBODY A PRODUCT, AND THEY GIVE ME SOMETHING BACK AND YOU CAN DONATE AT MY WEBSITE AND THE DONATION IS ENOUGH TO PAY FOR THINGS LIKE VISAS. DUBAI WAS THE FIRST TIME I NEEDED A SERIOUS AMOUNT OF MONEY TO SHIP THE CAR, WHICH WAS QUITE EXPENSIVE. SO I HAD TO FIND A JOB IN DUBAI INTERVIEWER: TELL ME ABOUT THE CHARGING NETWORK IN EUROPE. WAS IT ADEQUATE? WIEBE: IT REALLY DEPENDS FROM ONE COUNTRY TO ANOTHER. SOME COUNTRIES IT’S REALLY EXCELLENT BUT COUNTRIES NEXT TO THEM CAN BE REALLY BAD LIKE BELGIUM. I FOUND ONE CHARGING PORT IN BRUSSELS, BUT IT WAS REGULAR 224 VOLT PLUG INTERVIEWER: DO THEY NOT HAVE EVs in BELGIUM? WIEBE: THEY DO HAVE SOME. PEOPLE MOSTLY CHARGE THEM AT HOME. BUT NOW THE NETWORK HAS STARTED TO GROW INTERVIEWER: TELL ME ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES SO FAR IN INDIA. WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE? WIEBE: IT WAS A CULTURE SHOCK AFTER DUBAI, WHERE ALL THE ROADS ARE [GESTURES] AND STRAIGHT AND EVERYTHING IS NEATLY ORGANISED WHILE HERE EVERYTHING IS HAPHAZARD AND CHAOTIC, WHICH I LIKE BECAUSE IT’S MORE LIKE AN ADVENTURE THE PEOPLE ARE VERY NICE, VERY FRIENDLY [DOES INDIAN HEAD WAGGLE] INTERVIEWER: BU YOU HAD A BAD EXPERIENCE AT THE INDIAN CUSTOMS OFFICE. IT TOOK A LONG TIME TO GET YOUR CAR YES, I THOUGHT IT TOOK A LONG TIME. THE (CARGO) VESSEL ARRIVED FIVE DAYS LATER THAN EXPECTED, AND IT TOOK FOUR DAYS MORE TO GET THE CAR WHICH I THOUGHT WAS LONG TIME, BUT EVERYONE I SPOKE TO WAS VERY LUCKY. SOMETIMES IT CAN TAKES WEEKS OR EVEN MONTHS BEFORE THEY RELEASE A CAR SO I WAS OK WITH IT. WHAT WAS IT LIKE INTERACTING WITH THOSE BUREAUCRATS AND OFFICIALS? YEAH, IT WAS [SHAKES HEAD] LUCKILY I HAD SOMEONE WITH ME FROM A LOGISTICS COMPANY WHO HANDLED ALL THE WORK, BUT YEAH, IT WAS LIKE A SLAPSTICK MOVIE RUNNING FROM ONE OFFICE TO THE OTHER TO GET A STAMP. IT WAS LIKE A BAD B-MOVIE, IT WAS HILARIOUS NOW THAT YOU’RE LEAVING BOMBAY AND HEADING TO BANGLADESH, WHAT ROUTE ARE YOU PLANNING TO TAKE? I’LL GO STRAIGHT TO “NAGESH” SOMETHING? “NISHAK”? “NASHAK”? INTERVIEWER: “NASIK”? DO YOU HAVE ANY CONTACTS THERE? ANYONE WHO’S VOLUNTEERED? A FEW. IT’S ABOUT 2200 KM, SO I’LL NEED TO STOP 10-15 TIMES, I EXPECT. SO I THINK I MAY NEED MORE PEOPLE INTERVIEWER: I THINK YOUR EXPERIENCE IN INDIA WILL BE A LOT DIFFERENT BECAUSE YOU’LL BE GOING THROUGH A LOT OF VILLAGES SOME OF THEM ARE SO BACKWARD THAT I DOUBT THEY HAVE ELECTRICITY. ARE YOU WORRIED AT ALL ABOUT RUNNING INTO PROBLEMS? DO YOU HAVE A BACKUP PLAN (IF YOU CAN’T CHARGE)? WIEBE: PUSH THE CAR? [LAUGHS] NO, I DID SOME RESEARCH, AND I THINK IT’S POSSIBLE. THERE ARE SOME MINOR VILLAGES THAT ARE INTERESTING I THINK ON THE FIRST DAY I’LL STICK TO THE HIGHWAYS. BUT YES I AM WORRIED BECAUSE I’VE HEARD ABOUT POWER CUTS. INTERVIEWER: AND WHERE IN BANGLADESH DO YOU INTEND TO STOP ONCE YOU’VE CROSSED THE BORDER WIEBE: I WANT TO GO TO DACCA, AND THEN MYANMAR (BURMA). THEN THAILAND, INDONESIA, SINGAPORE INTERVIEWER: AND FROM THERE YOU’LL FLY TO AUSTRALIA OK, NOW I’D LIKE TO KNOW ABOUT THE CAR ITSELF. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE BATTERY, RANGE, ETC.? WIEBE: IT’S A CONVERTED CAR. I CONVERTED IT IN 2009, AND SO IT’S A FIRST-GENERATION ELECTRIC CAR 37 kWh BATTERY, 200 KM RANGE, 150 kWh motor, 200 HORSEPOWER, TOP SPEED OF 260 KMPH. CHARGING WITH A NORMAL SOCKET TAKES ABOUT 12 HOURS. YOU CAN CHARGE WITH A TYPE 2 CHARGER. IT CHARGES AT RATE OF 6.7 kW MAXIMUM, SO IT STILL TAKES 6 HOURS TO CHARGE THE CAR INTERVIEWER: DOES IT HAVE REGENERATIVE BRAKING? YES, IF YOU LET IT [THE ACCELERATOR] GO, IT REGENERATES INTERVIEWER: IS THERE ANY SCOPE TO INCREASE THE CAPACITY OF THE BATTERY PACK? HAVE YOU CONSIDERED UPGRADING AT SOME POINT? WIEBE: NO. INTERVIEWER: I ALSO WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE CONVERSION. HOW EASY IT WAS, WHAT THE PROCEDURE WAS WIEBE: I WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE CONVERSION. AND I DON’T HAVE A TECHNICAL BACKGROUND SO I DON’T REALLY KNOW. IT WAS SPONSORED. ACTUALLY IT WAS BORROWED FOR THIS PROJECT, AND SO WHEN I GOT IT, IT WAS ALREADY CONVERTED INTERVIEWER: THIS JOURNEY HAS BEEN VERY WELL PUBLICISED. FULLY CHARGED IS GOING TO BE DOING A FEATURE ON IT. PEOPLE ALL OVER THE WORLD HAVE BEEN WATCHING KNOWING THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE WATCHING AND BEING INSPIRED BY YOU, IS THERE ANY MESSAGE YOU WANT TO GIVE TO THE EV COMMUNITY AT LARGE? WIEBE: I REALLY LIKE THE EV COMMUNITY. THE PEOPLE IN IT ARE VERY PASSIONATE. THEY LIKE TO SHARE A LOT OF INFORMATION WITH EACH OTHER THAT REALLY HELPED ME TO GET WHERE I AM NOW AND I’M REALLY THANKFUL FOR THAT [MY MESSAGE WOULD BE] JUST KEEP WORKING TOWARDS OUR GOAL: A LOW-CARBON SOCIETY WHERE EVERYONE DRIVES ELECTRIC CARS AND KEEP INSPIRING GOVERNMENTS, COMPANIES, ETC. TO BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE AND TO KEEP MAKING ELECTRIC CARS INTERVIEWER: MY FINAL QUESTION – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABILITY? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ELECTRIC CARS IN THE FUTURE? WHERE DO YOU SEE THE ROAD GOING FORWARD? WIEBE: I HAVE HIGH HOPES. I WAS A LITTLE SCEPTICAL WHEN I STARTED THIS JOURNEY, BUT I SAW SO MANY INITIATIVES WHO MANAGED TO TURN ENTIRE AREAS OR NEIGHBOURHOODS ALMOST CARBON NEUTRAL IN THE MIDDLE EAST THAT WAS PROOF TO ME THAT YOU COULD LIVE ALMOST WITHOUT FOOTPRINTS BY MAKING SMALL CHANGES TO YOUR HOUSE AND OF COURSE YOU HAVE ELECTRIC CARS. OF COURSE, A PETROL-DEPENDENT COUNTRY WILL TAKE TIME TO IMPLEMENT THEM BUT IN A FEW YEARS, EVERYONE AROUND THE WORLD WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE ROAD TRIPS IN AN ELECTRIC CAR. INTERVIEWER: OK, THANKS A LOT FOR SPEAKING TO ME, WIEBE. AND WISH YOU BEST OF LUCK FOR YOUR FUTURE JOURNEY