Greece’s Astypalea is on course to become a smart, sustainable island. The first electric vehicles, including the first fully electric police car in Greece, were taken into service in the presence of Greece’s Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Volkswagen CEO, Herbert Diess, and Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Kostas Fragogiannis.
The first public and private charging points were also inaugurated. The event marked the launch of the transition to full electrification on Astypalea.
The first electric vehicles are being used by the police, at the airport authority and by the island’s municipality. The sale of electric vehicles to private customers will start by end of June, 2021. Customers can choose from the Volkswagen e-up!, the ID.3 and the ID.4 as well as the SEAT MÓ eScooter 125.
The Greek government is additionally supporting the switch to e-mobility with subsidies. Preparations are also already underway for a fully electric car sharing service and a ride sharing service.
In the coming years, the island wants to switch to smart sustainable mobility and completely modernising its energy system. Volkswagen and the Greek government signed a memorandum of understanding to achieve this in November, 2020.
Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, says: “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 blue print for a rapid transformation, fostered by the close collaboration of governments and businesses.”
Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, comments: “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 test bed 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.”
He adds: “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 can help to accelerate the switch to e-mobility in other regions.