Volkswagen Group and the municipality of Astypalea in Greece announced a joint project to electrify all of the island’s transportation back in 2020. Roughly three years later, the project appears nearly complete in what the German carmaker considers a test bed for zero-emissions mobility.

Astypalea is an island in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece and west of Turkey. It's one of the many Aegean islands, but what makes it stand out is VW Group’s involvement in its electrification.

Volkswagen, Volkswagen Commercial, Ducati and Seat MÓ contributed to developing the island’s public charging infrastructure and electrifying the fleet of police cars, ambulances, airport shuttles, and public transportation.

The number of VW Group EVs on the popular tourist island has risen to 84, from none before. The ID. Buzz electric microbus operates under the ASTYBUS nameplate and has already completed over 125,000 miles (200,000 kilometers) ferrying passengers around. Customers can also rent the ID.3 electric hatchback, Seat MÓ electric scooter and Ducati e-bikes using the astyMOVE app.

Gallery: Volkswagen Electrifies Greek Island Astypalea

Most newly registered vehicles on the island are EVs, and 25 percent of inhabitants use the ASTYBUS transportation service.

Future projects for VW Group and the local administration include renewable energy. Existing small-scale solar plants supply green electricity to the electric fleet in some capacity. But a larger 3.5-megawatt solar park, on track to open in 2024, is expected to meet all of the small island’s e-mobility needs, and up to 60 percent of its general energy needs.

The park will significantly reduce carbon emissions as the island currently uses diesel generators to meet its energy requirements. The diesel power plants emit up to 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

Maik Stephan, head of business development at VW Group, laid out his vision for electrification:

Over the next two decades, we will see many of the changes that make up the Astypalea project in other regions of Europe as well. Particularly impressive is the people’s change in mood from initial skepticism to great approval. This shows that rapid transformation is possible if companies, politicians and society work together.

Do you think the electrification of smaller islands and towns can pave the way for bigger cities to follow suit? Let us know in the comments.

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