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Volkswagen Is Headed To The Greek Islands


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Volkswagen Group employees will likely be rushing for the opportunity to work on the company's latest endeavor.


Volkswagen struck a deal with Greece to establish an electric transport system on the Mediterranean island of Astypalea, which covers just 100 square kilometers and has a population of 1,300 people.


The project will initially run for six years and see the island's current transport system transition to electric vehicles and renewable power generation. The goal is for Astypalea to become a "model island for climate-neutral mobility."


The project will include an all-electric year-round ridesharing service and a vehicle sharing service offering e-scooters, e-bikes and electric cars. The transformation of the island will see 1,000 electric vehicles replace about 1,500 vehicles with combustion engines.


The electrification of vehicles on the island will also include police vehicles, emergency services transport and public sector fleets. Volkswagen will install about 230 private and several public charging points across Astypalea.


Volkswagen Group CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Konstantinos Fragogiannis signed a memorandum of understanding last week for the project.


"Politics, business and society have a common responsibility to limit climate change. Our long-term goal is climate-neutral mobility for everyone," Diess said. "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."


Astypalea is visited by 72,000 tourists each year yet has just two buses operating on a small area of the island. With the island's current energy demands met using fossil fuels, Astypalea strives to become a pioneer for sustainable tourism and is pushing for sustainable mobility solutions.


"Electric transport and a holistic, green and sustainable action plan will have a positive impact on the everyday life of the island's inhabitants," Fragogiannis said. "Combined with a pioneering public transport system, we are turning futuristic ideas into reality."


Astypalea provides the perfect opportunity for Volkswagen to test its future mobility solutions as it has committed to invest nearly $40 billion in e-mobility over the next five years.

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