Volkswagen Starts Smart Mobility Services on Astypalea

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Herbert Diess, CEO Volkswagen Group said “The debate about shifting from fossil fuels towards renewables has gained momentum in Europe. Volkswagen is an innovator and leader in e-mobility. Astypalea is introducing new mobility services to help us move towards the future. It is exciting to see the project expand and people change their ways. This project demonstrates that businesses and governments can work together to achieve rapid green mobility and green electricity transformations.”

Kostas Frangogiannis is Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy, Openness and Security: “The Astypalea project reflects all the relative advantages of Greece today, that’s, how the country’s traditional natural wealth and precious human capital can, with support from a political leadership with open eyes and vision, face the future and its challenges with an open mind and with vision, bring it to the forefront of the world. For Astypalea citizens and the country as a whole, I am proud of the achievements we have made so far. This is especially important at a time when diversification and moving away from traditional energy sources is becoming more urgent globally. We are grateful to all those who supported the effort: the government, the local authorities and the business community, as well as to the citizens who took the risk.”

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All-electric, smart mobility services

Smart mobility services will replace the traditional bus line that has provided limited public transport in Astypalea. The mobility services, unlike the bus line will be available all year and will connect more places on the island. Five Volkswagen ID vehicles will be used to launch the ASTYBUS ridesharing system. Buzz will be available once the model is launched in autumn 2022. The ID will still be used to operate the service until then. Customers can rent electric cars from Volkswagen, e-scooters and bikes from SEAT MO through the vehicle sharing service astyGO. All vehicles can also be booked using the astyMOVE integrated app and a smartphone.

Astypalea has a growing number of electric vehicles. The first electric ambulance in Greece is now being built after the police, the airport authorities, and the municipality made the switch to e-mobility last. Customers are transported across the island by the first e-taxi. Recently, the ID of the first private customer was issued. The Hellenic Republic encourages e-mobility through attractive purchase premiums.

New solar system supplies the e-fleet

The energy system will gradually be converted to local renewable energy. Today, a second solar power system was installed to provide green energy for the current e-fleet. The Hellenic Republic also issued an open tender today to further transform the energy system. A new solar park, which will produce about 3 megawatts of green energy, will be operational by 2023. It will supply 100 percent of the electricity required to charge electric vehicles, and 50 percent of the island’s energy needs. The new energy system will provide more than 80 percent of the island’s total energy needs by 2026. Until now, electricity was supplied to the island by diesel generators.

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Academic Study: There is a lot of interest in e-mobility services and smart mobility.

Astypalea’s first survey revealed that people are keen to switch to electric vehicles and use smart mobility services. If there are grant opportunities, more than 65 percent said that they would be willing to change to an electric car. Although environmental friendliness is the main benefit of electric vehicles there are also costs concerns.

Infrastructure for charging. Mobility behavior could be significantly changed by ridesharing and vehicle sharing. Nearly half of respondents indicated that they would consider giving up their vehicle to use the new mobility services.

This survey was completed in summer 2021 with 221 participants. In the second half, the complete interim report will be released. Over several years, scientists from the University of the Aegean in Greece and the University of Strathclyde in Scotland have been monitoring and evaluating the project.

The Smart & Sustainable Island project aims to give a better understanding of how an entire system is transformed. Astypalea will be converted to sustainable mobility and power in five years. This includes purely electric vehicles as well as smart mobility services. Around 36,000 tourists visit Asytaplea every year. It is approximately the same size as Sylt.

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