Volkswagen adopts Astypalaia

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The government is hoping that Wednesday’s signing of a memorandum of cooperation with the Volkswagen Group concerning a pilot program for electric mobility and energy autonomy with zero carbon emissions on the island of Astypalaia will convince the German group to expand its investments in Greece.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will participate via a conference call in Wednesday morning’s event for Volkswagen’s innovative green investment on the Dodecanese island. The German car giant will be represented by the head of its governing board, Herbert Diess.

After several months of joint preparation with the Greek government, Volkswagen has selected Astypalaia for the implementation of its Green & Sustainable Island project. This will be broken down into stages that include the replacement of all public transport with electric vehicles, the provision of generous incentives – besides those already offered by the government – for the replacement of the islanders’ vehicles with electric ones, and the development of an electricity production unit that will be carbon neutral, covering the entire set of the island’s power requirements. This will be followed by a pilot program for the autonomous use of electric vehicles on the island.

The Greek side is expressing optimism that if this project continues at the positive pace it has started with, it could lead to new investments by the German group, similar to those by Microsoft, which decided to build three data centers for its first cloud region in Greece after designing an augmented reality website promoting the archaeological site of Ancient Olympia. It would therefore constitute a gradual approach during which the two sides establish whether and how efficiently they can cooperate.

Sources from the PM’s office say that the credit for the conception and successful completion of the cooperation with Volkswagen goes to Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Kostas Frangogiannis.

The expectations of further investments are based on the strategy of the German group, as Volkswagen follows a holistic approach for its transition to electric mobility: Besides building electric vehicles, it produces battery cells and charging infrastructure and supplies green power, which it will also do on Astypalaia.

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