Islands are perfect test markets for electrification for several reasons—driving distances tend to be short, and gas prices tend to be high. The Volkswagen Group is putting this principle into practice on the Greek island of Astypalea.
The Smart & Sustainable Island project, a joint initiative of the Volkswagen Group and the Hellenic Republic, aims to bring EVs and renewable energy to Astypalea. Since the project was announced in 2020, local government agencies have deployed EVs, including an ID.4, an e-up! and a Seat MÓ eScooter 125.
Thanos Papagiannis recently became the first private EV owner on the island—his new turquoise ID.3 replaced a VW Golf. "E-mobility is a perfect match for Astypalea,” he says. “The distances here are short, the power consumption is low, and the charging network is now very well developed. I really hope that Astypalea will inspire other regions to increase their efforts for climate protection [by] adopting e-mobility solutions."
Volkswagen’s Greek importer, Kosmocar, has joined with Astypalea authorities to launch a recycling initiative aimed at ridding the island of scrap vehicles, which have traditionally been left lying around the island to rust. The junk vehicles will be collected by volunteers, brought by ship to Athens and professionally recycled.
In the next phase of the Smart & Sustainable Island project, scheduled for this summer, Volkswagen will launch all-electric ride-sharing services together with local companies.
“Astypalea is a laboratory for the mobility of the future,” said Maik Stephan, Head of Business Development of Volkswagen Group and Project Manager. “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.”