Locals are swapping ICE power for EVs.
Volkswagen is planning an all-out assault on the EV market. Here in the United States, the ID.4 is proving to be rather popular amongst consumers. Europe remains the largest market for battery-powered VWs though, selling 310,400 vehicles in the region last year. Through its Smart & Sustainable Island project, the brand is hoping to bolster those sales figures.
First announced in 2020, the German carmaker had ambitions of creating an EV paradise on the Greek island of Astypalea. Following the adoption of electric vehicles by local authorities, Volkswagen delivered the first BEV to a local customer, Thanos Papagiannis.
He said, "E-mobility is a perfect match for Astypalea. The distances here are short, the power consumption is low, and the charging network is now very well developed. I really hope that Astypalea will inspire other regions to increase their efforts for climate protection [by] adopting e-mobility solutions."
The Makena Turquoise ID.3 replaces an aging Golf Mk3. Additional EV deliveries to the island included a Volkswagen e-Up and a Seat MÓ eScooter 125. The company's sustainability initiative goes further than just introducing electric vehicles to the Greek island. A recycling program aimed at removing scrapped vehicles from the island will reduce pollution and beautify the already gorgeous surroundings.
Interestingly, vehicles that have reached the end of their lives are simply abandoned all over the island and left to rot. According to VW, the vehicles are rounded up by volunteers, shipped over to Athens, and professionally recycled in the Greek capital. Recycling is very important to VW; the brand has previously said that it wants to reuse and recycle worn-out EV batteries.
This is just the second step in the plan for VW. In Summer, the German carmaker plans to launch all-electric mobility services with local companies, As such, rideshare and taxi drivers will be able to ferry passengers about in a sustainable manner.
"Astypalea is a laboratory for the mobility of the future. The island is experiencing the same change as any other region in Europe, only in a much shorter time. With the first private customers driving electric now, word will quickly get around how fascinating e-mobility is," said Volkswagen's Maik Stephan.
The island should serve as an example of how to preserve the environment. As the shift to EVs starts gaining momentum, EV-only zones must become more prevalent; this picturesque island proves that this is not a bad thing.
Here in the US, Volkswagen's EV market share is only set to grow with the introduction of the ID.Buzz minivan. With retro styling and a massively practical interior, it should steal a few sales away from the traditional SUVs and people carriers currently on sale.