The Volkswagen Group and Greece have agreed to establish a groundbreaking mobility system on the Mediterranean island of Astypalea. The current transport system on the island will transition to electric vehicles and renewable power generation. New mobility services such as vehicle sharing or ridesharing will help reduce and optimize traffic, and the energy will be primarily generated from local green power sources such as solar and wind. The project initially will run for six years.
Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, said: ‘Politics, business and society have a common responsibility to limit climate change. Our long-term goal is climate-neutral mobility for everyone. And with the Astypalea project, we will explore how to realize that vision already today. E-mobility and smart mobility will improve the quality of life while contributing to a carbon-neutral future.’
The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, said: ‘I strongly believe in partnerships. Governments can’t deliver on their own and the private sector isn’t the answer to every question. That is why this ambitious endeavour is the result of the close partnership between the Greek state and the Volkswagen Group. A world leader in the automotive industry that aims at making its fleet of vehicles and the company carbon neutral by 2050; coming together with a European nation in full transformation mode.’
The project is strongly supported by Volkswagen’s independent Sustainability Council as it serves as a blueprint for Volkswagen’s decarbonization strategy. Margo T. Oge, Member of the Sustainability Council and former Director of the Office of Transportation Air Quality of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): “Climate change poses an existential threat to humanity. E-mobility, in conjunction with renewable energy, will help reduce the worst impacts of climate change. As Aristotle once said: ‘It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.’ The Astypalea project is a light in the darkness and will help demonstrate the future of clean mobility.
The Volkswagen Group is committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Group is aiming to become climate neutral by 2050 and has drawn up the “goTOzero” sustainability strategy to achieve this target. The largest electric push in the automobile industry is at the heart of this strategy: The Group will be investing some €33 billion in e-mobility in the next five years and launch about 75 new electric models by 2029. Volkswagen’s compact ID.31, which recently went on sale, is the first of these models. The project on Astypalea is an integral part of the “goTOzero” strategy and is to serve as a blueprint for the total decarbonization of mobility. Under the umbrella of the Volkswagen Group, several brands are engaged in this endeavour – they include Volkswagen, SEAT, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, the energy service provider Elli and UMI Urban Mobility International with the We Share brand.
Astypalea is an island in the southern Aegean Sea covering an area of some 100 square kilometres. It has a population of approx. 1,300 and is visited by some 72,000 tourists each year. Astypalea currently has a very limited public transport service with two buses that only operate on a small area of the island. At present, energy demand is almost entirely met by fossil fuel sources. The island aspires to become a pioneer for sustainable tourism over the coming years and is therefore backing sustainable mobility. The Hellenic Republic supports this transformation within the framework of its National Energy & Climate Plan.