Astypalea is a small Greek island which is barely 96 square kilometers. In its 18 kilometers long and 13 kilometers wide, there are around 1,300 inhabitants. Due to its characteristics, it is the perfect setting to start a decarbonization process that can later be taken as an example in other places on a larger scale. Volkswagen is helping to electrify completely with its experience in this field and with its electric vehicles.
The German manufacturer has shown its intention to turn Astypalea into a laboratory in which to investigate in real time how people adapts to electric mobility and the incentives that are necessary for the transition to be sustainable. Volkswagen signed a memorandum of understanding with the Greek government in November and the first moves are now underway. The CEO of the brand, HerbertDiess, met there with the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kostas Fragkogiannis.
The first electric cars were delivered, which will be used by the police, the airport authority and the island’s town hall. It should be noted that the Volkswagen ID.4 has become the first electric police car throughout Greece. At the end of the month the sale to individuals will begin, who will be able to choose between models such as the Volkswagen e-up !, the Volkswagen ID.3, the aforementioned ID.4 or the SEAT MÓ eScooter electric motorcycle. They will benefit from attractive grants so that your purchase is interesting from the economic point of view.
Subsequently, Volkswagen will also launch other mobility services on the island, such as carpooling and a ride-sharing service. For the entire Astypalea energy system to become renewable requires other measures as well. For 2023 a solar park that will supply 3 MW of green energy, an amount that is enough to charge all electric cars and contribute more than 50% of the total electricity demand of the island. By 2026 it will be expanded to cover 80% of the demand. In this way they will be able to reduce CO2 emissions and also lower the cost of energy, which currently has diesel-powered generators.
To analyze this decarbonization of the island an academic study will be done which will monitor the entire process. Scientists from the University of Strathclyde (Scotland) and the University of the Aegean (Greece) will come together for this purpose. They will be in charge of analyzing the reception by the inhabitants of Astypalea through surveys and publish the results so other regions can learn.