Volkswagen Group and Greece have signed a memorandum of understanding that will create a mobility experience experiment on one of the country’s islands. Astypalea is set to become a model for climate-neutral mobility, according to a release announcing the news. The project is set to run six years.
“I strongly believe in partnerships. Governments can’t deliver on their own and the private sector isn’t the answer to every question. That is why this ambitious endeavour is the result of the close partnership between the Greek state and Volkswagen Group. A world leader in the automotive industry that aims at making its fleet of vehicles and the company carbon neutral by 2050; coming together with an European nation in full transformation mode,” said the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Volkswagen has provided an illustration of what they view the future of Astypalea to look like.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG
Astypalea is located in the southern Aegean Sea and consists of about 100 square kilometers of land. That make it about 1.5 times as big as Disney World and around the same size as Washington D.C. The island is visited by about 72,000 tourists a year, making it far less popular of an attraction than either Disney World or Washington D.C.
To achieve the climate-neutral status, the island will transform its current mobility services to electric vehicles, as well as move their electric grid to renewable power generation. The power sources will move to solar and wind.
Additionally, new mobility services including vehicle- and ride sharing will be implemented, exchanging the current limited bus system of the island (there is currently only two buses servicing the entire island) for more extensive transport. Volkswagen says that these efforts will “help reduce and optimize traffic” and include e-scooters from the Group’s SEAT brand and e-bikes in addition to electric cars (this includes the ID.3 and ID.4 as well as forthcoming additions to the VW lineup).
In total, 1,000 electric vehicles will replace about 1,500 vehicles with combustion engines. Volkswagen will install Elli chargers across the island, offering about 230 private and several public charging points.
Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, said: “Politics, business and society have a common responsibility to limit climate change. Our long-term goal is climate-neutral mobility for everyone. And with the Astypalea project we will explore how to realise that vision already today E-mobility and smart mobility will improve the quality of life, while contributing to a carbon neutral future.”
The project will also see emergency services vehicles be electrified.