As the first fully electric cars were delivered, the transformation began. The Greek island is set to become a model for smart and sustainable mobility, as set out in the plan drawn up by the country’s government in conjunction with the Volkswagen Group.
The change is evident when you arrive at the airport. Located right in front of the arrivals building is a brand-new charging station for electric cars and dedicated parking spaces. It bears the slogan “Smart & Sustainable Island”, a clear message that explains the transformation that will fundamentally change this beautiful Mediterranean island in the coming years.
The twin objectives are a shift to sustainable mobility and the production of green energy to cover the island’s needs. The long-term goal for Astypalea is to become a model for other islands who want to embark on the same journey.
The Volkswagen ID.4
The Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess visited the island to mark the official start of the transformation. In the main village of Chora, Diess presented the local police with their new service vehicle: the Volkswagen ID.4, the first electric car in Greece’s police force. And the port police, airport authorities and island administration are now also running on electricity.
Currently, the fleet includes electric cars and two SEAT MÓ eScooter 125s, with many more set to follow. Sales to private and business customers will start at the end of June. The next step will be the new mobility services, such as the fully electric car-sharing and ride-sharing services, both currently under development.
A European lab
“Astypalea will be a future lab for decarbonisation in Europe. We will be researching in real time what motivates users to switch to e-mobility and which incentives are needed to transition to a sustainable lifestyle. The learnings will help to accelerate the transformation towards sustainable mobility and green energy in Greece,” said Diess. “Worldwide, climate protection is gaining enormous traction. The Volkswagen Group has been driving this change, not just with its cars but through charging infrastructure and sustainable energy solutions. Astypalea can become a blueprint for a rapid transformation, fostered by the close collaboration of governments and businesses.”
The energy revolution
The transformation of Astypalea into a model of sustainability also encompasses the production of renewable electricity. The vast majority of the Greek island’s power is currently supplied by diesel generators, which produce almost 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. In future, this will be replaced by solar energy. To this end, a new solar field with an output of 3 MW will be installed by 2023. This will supply 100 percent of electric cars and up to 60 percent of the whole island with green energy.
The new energy system also includes a back-up battery with a storage capacity of 7 MWh, which will enable the network to be balanced and solar energy to be used optimally. By 2026, renewable energy will cover more than 80 percent of electricity requirements. The new energy system will not only reduce CO2 emissions, it will also reduce energy costs, potentially saving more than 25 percent.
A forward-looking project
The project is significant far beyond Greece, and Astypalea has the opportunity to serve as a unique testing ground. It is much simpler to observe and understand the challenges and opportunities that accompany a rapidly changing economy and society within the boundaries of an island ecosystem. To understand these factors better, researchers from the University of Strathclyde (Scotland) and the University of the Aegean (Greece) will be involved in the project.
They will regularly consult users to gather their feedback on the changes. The study aims to incorporate the perspective and experience of the community to gain an understanding of the transformation process. The results will then be made available to the public.
Source: Volkswagen AG
Volkswagen ID.3: power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 15.4-13.1 (combined); combined CO2 emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+
Volkswagen ID.4: power consumption in kWh/100 km (NEDC): 16.9-15.5 (combined); CO2 emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+
SEAT MÓ eScooter 125: power consumption in kWh/100 km: 7; CO2 emissions in g/km: 0; efficiency class: A+