Greece’s Astypalaia is waving goodbye to petrol and diesel in a groundbreaking project that is introducing electric cars to the Dodecanese island.
As part of the plan, cars are being replaced by electric vehicles (locals and local businesses have been given substantial grants – sometimes for more than two-thirds of the cost – to buy them), and a series of innovative ride-sharing and on-demand public transport schemes have been introduced.
In 2022 the island received the first shipment of electric cars through a program to make it the first “smart” island that runs almost entirely on green energy.
The delivery was part of the “Smart and Sustainable Island” program, a joint plan by the Greek government and Volkswagen.
Announcing the program in 2021, Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared that the ambitious project was “a doorway to a newer, cleaner, more sustainable world…where energy powers our lives without harming our planet.”
The Astypalaia Project is an integral part of our “collective effort to solve the world’s climate emergency,” Mitsotakis stated.
Thanos Papagiannis received the first of the deliveries in 2022 in the form of a Volkswagen ID.3, which replaced Papagiannis’s previous Volkswagen vehicle, a gas-powered Golf 3.
In a statement, Papagiannis said, “E-mobility is a perfect match for Astypalaia. The distances here are short, the power consumption is low, and the charging network is now very well developed. I really hope that Astypalaia will inspire other regions to increase their efforts for climate protection adopting e-mobility solutions.”
Volkswagen is replacing gas vehicles with electric cars on Astypalaia
Volkswagen is removing gas vehicles from the island and replacing them with its e-up, ID.3, ID.4 and Seat Mó e-Scooter electric vehicles.
The automaker also unveiled an electric ride-sharing program on the island in the summer of 2022.
Volkswagen says that in the coming years, Astypalaia will be converted into an island where mobility will be smart and sustainable, and the energy system will be completely renewed.
Maik Stephan, Head of Business Development of Volkswagen Group and Project Manager, emphasizes: “Astypalaia is a laboratory for the mobility of the future. The island is experiencing the same change as any other region in Europe, only in a much shorter time. With the first private customers driving electric now, word will quickly get around how fascinating e-mobility is.”
Sustainable development of Astypalaia
The automaker adds that its commitment to the sustainable development of Astypalaia goes beyond the electrification of the vehicle fleet.
It notes that the Volkswagen importer for Greece, Kosmocar, and the Municipality launched a recycling initiative aiming at freeing the island from scrap vehicles. Broken motorcycles, cars, and trucks are simply left behind in many places, polluting the island of Astypalaia.
The recycling campaign is intended to eliminate the associated environmental impact while simultaneously beautifying the island. The vehicles are initially collected by volunteers and then shipped to Athens where they are finally recycled there.