Across the Simpson Desert… by battery car

Tom Creek, left, and Dan Clements… striving to promote renewable energy as an imperative, not an alternative. Photo by Danielle Nohra

MORE than 55 years ago, SA geologist Reg Sprigg, with his wife and two children, crossed the Simpson Desert for the first time in a conventional car.

Now, two local engineers have decided to up that feat and complete the trip in eight days in an electric car, which they will convert themselves.

The two mates and electrical engineers, 26-year-old Dan Clements and 29-year-old Tom Creek, who together form Clements X Creek, are raising money to build the “first EV in history to cross the world’s largest sand-dune desert”.

“Over the past year we have been working on the idea that a 4×4 can be converted from its original internal combustion engine set up into a fully renewable, powered electric vehicle that is capable of crossing the Simpson Desert,” Tom says.

Last year in a Canberra beer garden, while reminiscing over a previous Simpson Desert adventure, a friend challenged Tom and Dan to build an electric vehicle capable of the same journey.  

That simple jest grew into something they just couldn’t turn away from.

Dan and Tom are hoping this will stand as a catalyst for electric vehicle use in Australia.

“We are striving to promote renewable energy as an imperative, not an alternative,” Dan says.

The Sprigg family crossing the Simpson Desert by petrol car in 1962.

The two hope to provide an information hub where everything people need to know about converting conventional cars into electric vehicles will be in the one place.

“There’s a bit of information online for how to do it, but not enough,” Tom says.

“We want to create a ‘how to’ video. You have a petrol car, but how do you take the engine out?

“We also want to make a series of videos and supporting documentation, whether it be documents for how to pass rego.

“It’ll be an off-the shelf product, so anyone out there can do it.”

To achieve all this, Dan and Tom aim to raise $95,000 through crowd funding and fundraising events.

“The crowd funding is for the vehicle, not for the trip,” Dan says.

“It’s more than the vehicle, because there are fees and rewards. That in itself adds costs to the trip.

“We’ve had to build a platform and are going to produce and give away content.”

Both full-time workers, Dan and Tom will be busy with the car and the fundraising on nights and during the weekends in order to have it running by August.

“We have a rough timeline, but plan to have it ready by August. This will allow us enough time to build it and test it,” Tom says.

“We’ll get the car to the western part of the Simpson Desert out of our own time and budget.”

To raise awareness they will be giving away “the adventure”, allowing a few people to join them cross the desert.

All people have to do is like or share their posts on the Facebook page, “Outback EV”.

“People have the chance to become part of the actual adventure,” Dan says.

Tom says people have to be 18 years old to be eligible and capable of making the trip.

“We’re looking for people who like adventures,” he says.

To support Dan and Tom visit

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