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Dutch EV adventurer meets Minister Megan Woods

Dutch EV adventurer meets Minister Megan Woods

Wellington, July 28 - Dutch adventurer Wiebe Wakker met Minister of Energy and Resources, Megan Woods yesterday at Parliament. The Netherlands ambassador to New Zealand, Mira Woldberg joined them for the event. Wiebe Wakker drove his fully electric ‘Blue Bandit’ wagon from the Netherlands to Wellington in the course of three years.

Wakker is founder of ‘Plug Me In’, a project with the ambitious task of driving an electric car from the Netherlands to the other side of the world to prove how reliable sustainable mobility can be. Wakker left Amsterdam on 15 March 2016 crossing 34 countries and driving nearly 100,000km without filling up at a fuel station. It’s the World’s longest journey in an electric car and the record will soon be definitive when Wakker reaches Bluff, the end destination of his three-year-long journey.

Yesterday when Wakker met with Megan Woods, Energy and Resource Minister of New Zealand he made no secret of just how passionate he is towards New Zealand’s uptake of electric vehicles.

“The density of fast-chargers in New Zealand is huge. You can find one approximately every 70km on the country’s highway network, which makes New Zealand one of the best countries in the world to drive electric thanks to a few companies who saw the infrastructure opportunity a few years ago,”

“The downside at the moment is that the initial costs of an EV are high. There are a number of ways governments could do more to incentivise the uptake. These will make it more attractive for people to purchase an EV which is important to tackle climate change. New Zealand’s electricity is more than 80% renewable, so it makes perfect sense to drive electric in this country,” Wakker says.

Minister Megan Woods has been involved in the deployment of EV infrastructure in New Zealand “I drive an electric car myself and we are considering more options to make it more attractive for New Zealanders to start drive electric.” Minister Woods says.

The Netherlands ambassador to New Zealand spoke about the ambition of the Dutch government. It is committed to only sell zero-emission cars and to reach 1.8 million charging stations by 2030. There are already 45,000 electric vehicles on the road in the Netherlands. Ambassador Mira Woldberg said: Wiebe Wakker has become a real electric vehicle ambassador. When he decided to go on this world journey in his Blue Bandit wagon, it was not sure where he was going and how long it would take him. His travel required perseverance, and courage to take bold steps. It inspired us at the Embassy to start a pilot to do without our petrol-fuelled Embassy car and instead use the electric bike or the ambassador’s hybrid car.

Today, Wakker will make his way to the South Island and start the final leg of his journey. Thousands of people are following Wakker’s journey through social media. His record-breaking trip had many challenges and highlights which Wakker shares on his website plugmeinproject.com, his Facebook page, Instagram and YouTube channel.


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