Volkswagen Group has delivered the first electric cars to private customers on the Greek island of Astypalea, marking the next phase of the Smart & Sustainable Island project – a joint initiative of the Volkswagen Group and Greek government which aims to transform the island’s mobility and energy systems.

Volkswagen last summer supplied electric vehicles to various municipal organisations including the police, coast guard and local airport, which introduced EV to the island and established charging infrastructure.

Thanos Papagiannis, the first private ID.3 customer on Astypalea, is now a firm advocate of e-mobility. His new electric vehicle replaces a Volkswagen Golf 3. He says, “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 adopting e-mobility solutions.”

Maik Stephan, Head of Business Development of Volkswagen Group and Project Manager, added, “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.”

And under a further element of the Smart & Sustainable Island project, by the summer Volkswagen will introduce electric ride and vehicle sharing services helping to reduce the total number of vehicles on the island.

Volkswagen’s commitment to the Astypalea’s sustainable development goes beyond electrification of the vehicle fleet. The island is currently blighted by dumped scrap vehicles and Volkswagen importer Kosmocar will collect up the discarded motorcycles, cars and trucks and transport them back to Athens where they can be recycled at licensed facilities.

Chong Lee, Head of Integrated Mobility Solutions at Volkswagen AG is speaking at MOVE in London on 15/16 June. With over 600 speakers across 33 themed stages MOVE is the world’s most important mobility event. Find further details here