Astypalea, a Greek island of the Dodecanese in the south Aegean, has been selected to become the first smart, green island in the Mediterranean with energy autonomy, according to an agreement signed recently between the Greek government and the big automobile company Volkswagen. The aim of this ambitious project is to establish a groundbreaking mobility system on the island transforming both public and private transportation based on renewable energy. Astypalea, in the long run, will become a model island for climate neutral mobility.

The project, that will be implemented over six years, involves the gradual replacement of conventional private and public vehicles on the island with electric ones and the introduction of an innovative transportation system based on shared mobility. At the same time the production of electricity from renewable energy sources in order to replace the current use of fossil fuels in the island, is foreseen.

More precisely, the project involves a completely new and advanced transportation system that includes:

– Incentives to replace conventional private vehicles with electric vehicles through a financing program. In total, about 1,000 electric vehicles are to replace about 1,500 vehicles with internal combustion engines.
–  Replace public and utility vehicles on the island – police, ambulance and buses – with e-vehicles with the support of the Volkswagen Group.
–  Establish the necessary infrastructure for an integrated, electric vehicle charging network.
– Creation of an on-demand public transportation system through the use of digital applications that will allow residents and visitors greater freedom of travel through the use of vehicle sharing, e-moped and e-bicycle services.
–  The Greek government will facilitate all necessary processes required to accommodate autonomous driving once this becomes possible.

Τhe Astypalea project is in line with the National Plan for the Transition to Electrification which is one of the central pillars of the Greek government’s environmental strategy to phase out fossil fuels encompassing every level of government – local, regional, national- as well as the private sector and individuals. The Plan is supported by Greece’s highly innovative and important “Green Deal” that was signed by 19 public and private sector bodies and the Greek ministries of infrastructure and environment at the beginning of June.

Greece has also developed a National Plan for Energy and Climate in accordance with the UN Agenda 2030 and its 17 global Sustainable Development Goals as well as with the European Green Deal aiming at developing a greener economic model through decarbonization, renewable energy sources and tackling climate change. Greece is committed to promoting sustainable development, green energy and innovation as necessary conditions for the continuous improvement of social, economic and environmental conditions in the country.

The project is strongly supported by Volkswagen’s independent Sustainability Council as it serves as a blueprint for Volkswagen’s decarbonization strategy.