The island with 1,300 permanent residents of the Aegean Sea will be transformed into a community with carbon-free solutions. Car giant Volkswagen has agreed to help eliminate fossil fuels on the island of Astypalaia by introducing electric vehicles and ancillary systems. Together with the installation of renewable sources, a model will be established that can be applied in Europe and beyond.
The German carmaker said it would first supply and install equipment to enable a full transition to electromobility and smart mobility. The plan is to replace the current fleet of 1,500 vehicles with electric ones, from scooters to ambulances and light commercial vehicles, and reduce their number by a third.
Greece, on the other hand, has the task of developing the infrastructure and replacing the existing four diesel generators with a hybrid battery-powered system. The government has said it will rely on solar and wind energy. The new energy sources are planned to cover most of the electricity demand.
The project will start in the first quarter of next year and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2026. Both sides said smart mobility services would be launched and that Astypalaia would require fewer vehicles with a vehicle-sharing model.
The island has three settlements and 1,300 permanent residents, but is visited annually by 70,000 tourists. According to project participants, the fully electric shuttle service, available 24/7 via mobile app, will improve public transport.
“Astypalaia can and will become a model of sustainable development, not only nationally, but also at European and global level. “It can set an example of how small communities can benefit from solving old problems with new solutions,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The car giant would use its e-up !, ID.3 and ID.4 models, and the commercial vehicle division would produce vehicles for use by public institutions and utilities.