Greek island set to go electric with help from Volkswagen

Volkswagen Group and the Greek Government have embarked on a mission to make the Mediterranean island of Astypalaia fully electric.

The new partnership will see the island move towards to e-mobility, smart mobility solutions and green power generation to, in the long run, become a model island for climate-neutral mobility and a future lab for Europe.

The first electric vehicles were taken into service in the presence of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Deputy Foreign Minister Kostas Fragogiannis. The vehicles included the first fully electric police car in Greece, vehicles used at the airport and by the island’s municipality.

Private customers can choose the electric scooter SEAT MÓ 125 or electric cars like the VW e-up! Or the ID.3 and ID.4.

Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, said: “Astypalea will be a future lab for decarbonization in Europe. We will be researching in real-time what motivates people to switch to e-mobility and which incentives are needed to transition to a sustainable lifestyle. The learnings will help to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable mobility and green energy in Greece.

“Worldwide, climate protection is gaining enormous traction. Volkswagen has been driving this change, offering the full range of sustainable mobility – from cars, to charging to sustainable energy solutions. Astypalea can become a blueprint for a rapid transformation, fostered by the close collaboration of governments and businesses.”

In the coming years, the island wants to switch to smart sustainable mobility, which will be electric-powered by locally produced green electricity. New mobility services like scooter sharing, car sharing and ride sharing, will reduce by one-third the needs of vehicles in the island and will replace the existing public bus service.

The Volkswagen Group and the Greek government signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect last November and the Greek government is fully involved in this transformation and is additionally supporting the switch to e-mobility with highly attractive subsidies.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said: “Greece is on a mission to transform our economy and society into ‘Greece 2.0’, by leading the green revolution and harnessing the latest digital technology. Our plans are bold. Astypalaia will be a testbed for the green transition: energy-autonomous, and entirely powered by nature. This beautiful island is a central pillar in that transition, and I am enormously grateful to the local community for their continued support for the project.

“Our unique partnerships with Volkswagen, one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative car companies, and with the brilliant research teams at the Universities of the Aegean and Strathclyde, will give us vital insights that will help us to create incentives for change on our journey to a cleaner, greener and more sustainable future. Together we will harness the wind and the sun to power that brighter future.”

Scientists from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and the University of the Aegean in Greece will be monitoring and systematically evaluating the transformation on Astypalea. The study will focus on the people of Astypalea and their attitudes towards the transformation. A series of surveys will examine the general views on e-mobility and the readiness to switch to an electric vehicle, providing a deeper understanding of the key levers and barriers of the transformation. The final results of the study will be made public and will look to help accelerate the switch to e-mobility in other regions.

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