Greek Astypalea Becomes a Carbon-Neutral Island, and It's Powered by Volkswagen

ID. Buzz Pro in Astypalea 11 photos
Photo: Volkswagen
First electric cars for private customers on AstypaleaFirst electric cars for private customers on Astypaleae-mobility in AstypaleaAstypalea Islande-ambulanceAstyGo ID.3ID. Buzz ProSEAT MO eScooterVolkswagen CEO Herbert Diess using the astyMOVE App.Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess at Astypalea.
The idea of living in the city, but having at the same time the benefits of a country life - especially clean air - is becoming a reality. People are finally starting to live in some kind of symbiosis with technology and nature.
Greece has opened its doors to a greener life and welcomed Volkswagen's Smart & Sustainable Island project. First stop? Astypalea Island. By 2026, Volkswagen Group and the Hellenic Republic aim to convert the island in a Smart & Sustainable island, with a brand new energy system. But let's see first what exactly a smart and sustainable city entails.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) developed jointly a definition of smart sustainable cities. They say "a smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses ICTs and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social, environmental as well as cultural aspects."

In other words, all things should work in harmony without harming each other.

In a union of forces, minds, capital and will, Volkswagen and Greek leaders have introduced these days two new mobility services in Astypalea: ride-sharing service ASTYBUS, and vehicle sharing service astyGO, using fully electric vehicles available all year round. This is a great advantage, as traditional transport has limited access to certain places on the island so far. The ASTYBUS ridesharing service will start operating with the ID.4, and from the fall the ID. Buzz will join it. Also, vehicle sharing service astyGO is renting electric cars from Volkswagen, as well as e-scooters from SEAT MÓ and e-bikes from Ducati.

The island has already benefited from e-mobility among local authorities since last year. Currently, the police, the airport authorities, the municipality and more recently the ambulance service carry out their activities with electric cars, followed by the first e-taxi. Also, the first private customer there recently received his ID.3.

As the mobility changes on the island, new infrastructure will be needed. In order to supply the current e-fleet with green energy, Greece will develop a new solar park by 2023, providing about 3 megawatt of green energy. The new system will cover 80 percent of demand by 2026 – including the 1,000 EVs that will be out and about on the island then. This will reduce carbon emissions by about 50 percent.

Volkswagen adopted a decarbonization strategy in 2019 with the aim of becoming a net CO2-neutral company by 2050. By 2025, the company wants to reduce the carbon footprint of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles across the entire value chain by 30 percent compared to 2015.

Asytaplea has 1,300 inhabitants and is being visited by around 36,000 tourists every year.

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