Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis hailed on Wednesday the ambitious investment by German automaker to the island of Astypalaia a “vote of confidence in Greece.”
Volkswagen, in cooperation with Greece, announced it will launch an innovative project to bring climate-neutral mobility to the island.
The six-year plan includes a massive replacement of carbon-run vehicles with electric and hybrid cars and trucks, the building of electric charging stations across the island, and the construction of electric trains which will run on clean energy — all produced locally.
“Volkswagen’s decision to come to Greece for the implementation of this project constitutes a vote of confidence in Greece’s growth prospects but also the seriousness of this government, its ability to put into action a complex project,” he said.
The partnership between the Greek Government and the @VWGroup highlights how innovation can be a force for change. We are at the beginning of a journey to transform Astypalea into a paradigm for smart & green living that could influence how we think about the future of mobility. pic.twitter.com/8RCKYbdpuF
— Prime Minister GR (@PrimeministerGR) November 4, 2020
Police cars and other public vehicles will be replaced with electric cars as part of Volkswagen’s ambitious plan.
In addition to replacing approximately 1,500 carbon-run cars with 1,000 electric cars and trucks, Volkswagen will also send new e-scooters and electric bikes to the island for the use of its residents.
According to the project, Astypalaia will effectively become a “Green island,” with transportation running almost entirely on clean energy produced locally.
Astypalaia will serve as a small-scale model for VW’s larger plan of reducing carbon emissions and expanding clean-energy globally.
During the virtual meeting on Wednesday, Herbet Diess, VW’s Chairman of the Board of Management, reiterated the company’s goal of “climate-neutral mobility for everyone.” Diess highlighted that “with the Astypalaia project, [VW] will explore how to realize that vision already today.”
VW’s project in Astypalaia also aligns with the Greek government’s commitment to utilizing renewable energy sources to cover most of its energy needs. The country currently stands as one of Europe’s leaders in terms of green energy production.
When VW announced its plan to invest in Greece, it also considered the northern Greek city of Kavala and the nearby island of Thassos as potential locations for the project. However, the auto giant decided on Astypalaia for its small, more manageable size.
While the island has a year-round population of around 1,300 residents, it welcomes over 70,000 visitors during the summer tourist season.