World, Environment

Climate activist to make electricity-powered 11,000-mile journey

Licypriya Kangujam, 8, seeks to send world 'strong message' on global climate crisis ahead of COP26 talks in Glasgow

Burak Bir  | 14.03.2020 - Update : 14.03.2020
Climate activist to make electricity-powered 11,000-mile journey


Traveling to more than 30 countries to sound the alarm on the global climate crisis, an eight-year-old Indian activist is now preparing for a journey of over 11,000 miles from India to the U.K. via electric car to increase awareness against the fossil-fuel-based economy.

"This will be one of my biggest missions in life as part of my Child Movement to fight the global climate crisis," Licypriya Kangujam told Anadolu Agency on her trip which she plans to launch on Sept. 13, 2020, ahead of international COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland.

On March 5, she announced the journey to cross 18 countries in 90 days, requesting help and support for the journey from environmental groups.

Accompanied by her mother and two others during the trip, she said she would decide the exact route to take in August, taking into consideration the global coronavirus pandemic.

Underlining that the consumption of hydrocarbons was driving global warming to dangerous levels, she said the fossil fuels industry was also responsible for a significant part of water and air pollution -- a burden mostly borne by low-income communities.

"I'm trying to send a strong message to the whole world on this account ahead of the United Nations Climate Conference 2020 [COP26] to be held in Glasgow, U.K.," she said.

Licypriya said that many travelers around the world had responded positively to her call for support, including Dutch fellow traveler and environmental activist Wiebe Wakker.

"After my official announcement, I received guidance and support from many world travelers to make my mission successful. Some of them are Mr. Marek Kaminski from Power4Change from Poland, world record holder Mr. Wiebe Wakker from Plug Me In," said Licypriya.

Many people also extended their help in the form of local hospitality, she said, adding: "I think this mission will be a great successful one."

World record holder offers help

Dutch adventurer and founder of the Plug Me In project Wiebe Wakker, who holds the current world record for completing the longest electric car trip, contacted Licypriya after seeing her request for help for her journey.

Wakker holds the current world record for the longest-ever electric car trip, covering a distance of about 95,000 kilometers (59,000 miles) having crossed 33 countries from the Netherlands to Australia in 1,119 days.

"Of course, as I have made a long electric car journey and I am self-proclaimed EV [electric vehicle] ambassador, I was instantly enthusiastic about Licy's [Licypriya] journey and I thought my experience could be useful for her," he told Anadolu Agency.

Wakker said that "instantly" sent Licypriya an email and offered his support once he happened upon her plans on Twitter via the many electric car enthusiasts he follows.

"Her trip will cross many countries were EV infrastructure is still lacking. Luckily electric cars don’t need dedicated charging stations, we can charge at the standard household sockets too, but this takes some extra time. So, you need to be well prepared for waiting long times to charge," he said.

Recommending travel during the day and charging overnight, the Dutch adventurer said, "luckily," the electricity grid was reliable from Iran to the U.K.

Comparing Licypriya's planned journey with his trip to Australia, Wakker said that the charging infrastructure had rapidly developed since 2016, meaning she would not face power issues after leaving India.

"If you look at Tesla's supercharger network you can see it is already possible to cover 80% of Europe just on their network. Also, non-Tesla networks like CCS and Chademo stations are to be found all around Europe," he said.

Wakker stated that, apart from technical issues, she must also consider other difficulties such as homesickness and sleeping problems.

Regardless, Licypriya's journey will be critical in making electric vehicles more widespread, as it will prove that traveling from India to the U.K. in such a car was already possible, he added.

"She can show the world that sustainable mobility is a viable way of transport and accelerate EV adoption.”

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