The Volkswagen Group has announced plans to transform the Greek island of Astypalea into a “green mobility hub” that will electrify the popular tourist island’s transport and ride-sharing services, and its entire car fleet.
The Memorandum of Understanding signed between VW and the Greek governmen will see a new “cutting-edge” transport system with digital mobility services and including an all-electric year-round ridesharing service will be implemented to replace the old and overworked system.
VW will work with local partners to transition the traditional vehicle rental business into a vehicle sharing service offering e-scooters from VW’s SEAT brand and e-bikes ,in addition to electric vehicles.
VW will also add about 1,000 electric vehicles to replace about 1,500 vehicles with combustion engines on the island. Commercial vehicles from local businesses as well as utility vehicles on the island – such as police vehicles, emergency services transport and public sector fleets – will also be electrified.
The island, currently powered almost universally by fossil fuel sources, will also look to develop renewable energy sources to power its green mobility solutions.
Volkswagen will also install its Elli chargers across the island to ensure a comprehensive charging infrastructure provides around 230 private and several public charging points.
“Politics, business and society have a common responsibility to limit climate change,” said Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of Volkswagen Group.
“Our long-term goal is climate-neutral mobility for everyone. And with the Astypalea project we will explore how to realize that vision already today. E-mobility and smart mobility will improve the quality of life, while contributing to a carbon neutral future.”
Home to a population of around 1,300, and visited each year by approximately 72,000 tourists, Astypalea currently has a very limited public transport service, boasting only two buses that operate on only a small area of the island.
“Today is a great day for Astypalea, the Dodecanese Region, the Aegean Sea and all of Greece. Today we are launching the first ´Smart Green Island` project in our country, which marks a major change in our outlook,” said Konstantinos Fragogiannis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“Electric transport and a holistic, green and sustainable action plan will have a positive impact on the everyday life of the island’s inhabitants.
“Combined with a pioneering public transport system, we are turning futuristic ideas into reality. Today Greece shows that it is ready to adopt groundbreaking, innovative and flagship investments that take society to another level of connectedness, smart sustainability and innate usability.”