Volkswagen and Greece kickstart Astypalea project
Announced back in November 2020, Volkswagen Group and Greece have officially laid the first stones to transform the Astypalea island into a model for climate-neutral mobility.
Local authorities have received a bunch of electric VW ID.3s and ID.4s, as well as Seat MÒ electric scooters. They will drive on 100% green electricity produced by a 3 MW solar field installed in 2023.
“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., writes Volkswagen CEO Hebert Diess in a press release.
“The learnings will help to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable mobility and green energy in Greece. Astypalea can become a blueprint for a rapid transformation, fostered by the close collaboration of governments and businesses.”
Testbed for carbon-neutral mobility
Nicknamed ‘the butterfly of the Aegean’ due to its shape, the Greek island of Astypalea is set to become the first sustainable island of the Mediterranean sea by 2026. The 1 300 inhabitants and 70 000 yearly tourists will now take advantage of the 10 million euro project financed by the Greek Government and the Volkswagen Group.
Both actors want to incite inhabitants and car rental companies to switch to EVs with charging stations and incentives. In the end, some 200 cars will be made available to the public through a still under-development car-sharing and ride-sharing service.
Volkswagen has already brought a fleet of electric ID.3s and ID.4s. One of the latter has been given to the police, making it the first electric police car in Greece.
From diesel to solar and wind
Currently, diesel generators almost exclusively supply Astypalea in electricity. In the future, solar and wind should take their place. The Green government announced the construction of a 3 MW solar field by 2023. It will work together with a 7 MWh battery storage system.
By 2026, sustainable energy should cover more than 80% of the island’s electricity requirements. This will allow a 70% CO2 reduction as well as a 25% drop in energy costs.