The Greek government and Volkswagen Group kicked off on Wednesday an ambitious project for a switch to e-mobility and the full electrification of the island of Astypalea, in the South Aegean, with the delivery of the first electric vehicles.
The vehicles, including the first fully electric police car in Greece, were delivered by Volkswagen on Wednesday in a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. They will be used by the police, at the airport authority and by the island’s municipality. The company also inaugurated the first public and private charging points on the island.
The plan is based on a memorandum of understanding signed between the company and the Greek government last November.
“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. Astypalea will be a test bed for the green transition: energy autonomous, and entirely powered by nature,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said at the event.
“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.”
The project will also include a study conducted by the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and the University of the Aegean in Greece which will monitor and evaluate the transformation on Astypalea. It will focus on the local residents 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.
“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,” said Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group.
“The learnings will help to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable mobility and green energy in Greece…Astypalea can become a blue print for a rapid transformation, fostered by the close collaboration of governments and businesses.”
The sale of electric vehicles to private customers will start by end of June. Customers will be able to choose from the Volkswagen e-up!1, the ID.32 and the ID.43 as well as the SEAT MÓ eScooter 1254.
The Greek government will also support the switch to e-mobility with attractive subsidies. The project also foresees for the launch of additional mobility services, with reparations already underway for a fully electric car sharing service and a ride sharing service.