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Mobility turnaround in the Mediterranean: VW plans revolutionary e-car island

Traffic on Astypalea is to become completely climate-neutral and electric. The island will thus become a pioneer for the smart city of tomorrow.

On Wednesday, VW boss Herbert Diess and Greece's deputy foreign minister Konstantinos Fragogiannis signed the deal that could pave the way for climate-neutral mobility of tomorrow. On the Aegean island of Astypalea a climate-neutral world without combustion engines is to be created. VW wants to replace all of the island's approximately 1500 vehicles with electric vehicles. Initially, state vehicles such as those of the police and fire brigade are to be converted. The car rental service, which is mostly open in summer for the approx. 75,000 tourists, will in future offer e-scooters and e-bikes in addition to e-cars. Locals, who mostly depend on private transport due to the lack of public transport, will be supported by subsidies when buying an e-vehicle. The two existing public bus lines will be replaced by smaller electric shuttle buses, which will travel to all places on the island 24 hours a day as needed. 3 car-sharing stations with electric vehicles will complete the public transport service.
The charging structure as well as the vehicles are provided by VW itself. The electricity to supply the project will then be generated by solar and wind power instead of coal-fired power stations, as is currently the case in Greece.  
The island will thus become a beacon project for the mobility and energy turnaround. Surely this is not entirely altruistic for VW. Apart from the prestige and marketing of the VW brand, the state subsidies will boost sales of VW cars. But what needs to happen in many places in the future - a switch to electric vehicles, newly conceived methods of public transport and a switch to sustainable energies - could soon become reality in Astypalea, serving as a blueprint for larger cities and regions. And thus show us a way to reduce air and noise pollution, congested roads and - most importantly - driving bans.