Volkswagen AG will launch a pilot project for climate-neutral mobility on the Greek island of Astypalea, as part of the German automaker’s efforts to roll out electric vehicles and curb emissions. The first e-vehicles are expected to be deployed on Astypalea in the first half of 2021.
Ostfilder, Germany: 4 November 2020
According to Volkswagen, the first vehicles are expected to be government vehicles, followed by the first private vehicles delivered to customers. It is planned that the private vehicles will be sold through dealerships as normal, with the Greek government supporting the purchase through subsidy programs. In the first half of 2021, the car-sharing and ride-sharing services will start operating.
The island of Astypalea is a small island located in the Aegean Sea. About 1,300 people live on Astypalea and more than 70,000 tourists visit the island every year.
Answering the question “Why Astypalea?”, Volkswagen explains:
Astypalea offers ideal conditions for such a project in many ways. First of all, the island is starting virtually from scratch, and is thus making a complete transformation in terms of mobility. Secondly, it offers a clearly defined and closed area without limiting factors that cannot be influenced. The island is also just the right size to test transport systems efficiently. And finally, the people on Astypalea were very much convinced of the idea right from the start.
According to Volkswagen,
There are about 1,500 vehicles available for common A to B journeys, to the beach or the mountains - all powered by a combustion engine. There is no e-mobility in the island so far, but it is expected to change from next year on. Astypalea wants to convert its vehicle fleet to e-vehicles as quickly as possible and could be the first region in the world to achieve completely emission-free traffic.
Currently Astypalea gets its electricity almost entirely from diesel generators. In the future, a large part of the electricity demand for households, companies and traffic will be covered by wind and solar power systems, which the Greek government will install on the island. The electric fleet will be powered entirely by green renewable electricity.
Traffic on Astypalea will be converted to e-mobility as far as possible. This includes the public transport system, local authority vehicles (police, paramedics) and companies as well as the private vehicles of the inhabitants. At the same time, a nationwide network of private and public charging stations will be created. Highlights are the new car sharing and ride sharing services, which will radically modernize public transport on the island. They will replace the old bus network and – unlike the previous bus system – will serve all corners of the island, while being operational all year round. Alongside car sharing e-cars, e-scooters and e-bikes will also be integrated. In total, the number of vehicles on Astypalea is expected to decrease by a third to 1,000, while mobility will be improved.
While announcing the investment, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said:
Astypalea can and will become a model of sustainable development not just at a national but at a European and a global level. It can set an example of how small communities can benefit from addressing all problems with new solutions.
According to Bloomberg Green, Volkswagen will replace about 1,500 combustion-engine vehicles with 1,000 electric models in Astypalea, including the new ID.3 compact and ID.4 crossover, as well as e-scooters from the group’s Spanish brand Seat and electric bikes. Police vehicles and cars for other local authorities also will be electrified.
For further information, please contact:
Bloomberg Green. 4 November 2020
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