German auto industry Volkswagen has agreed to develop a 30 million-euro investment plan on the Greek island Astypalea, in the southeast Aegean, that will transform the location into a green-energy island capable of fully covering its energy needs.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the VW chief executive Herbert Diess are scheduled to stage a teleconference tomorrow, possibly with the participation of the Astypalea municipality’s leadership, during which they are expected to officially announce the investment plan.
Astypalea promises to become the country’s second self-sufficient green-energy island following Agios Efstratios, a small island close to Limnos in the northeast Aegean. A tender was recently completed for necessary RES and telethermal projects on Agios Efstratios.
Besides the installation of RES systems and energy storage facilities, the VW plan for Astypalea will also incorporate testing of autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles.
VW is investing heavily in self-driving vehicles, particularly buses and trucks, as part of its effort to compete against rival car manufacturers in the electromobility sector and also achieve ambitious green-energy company goals set to help counter climate change.
Greece’s deputy foreign minister Kostas Fragogiannis, who has maintained close contact with VW over the past year in an effort to convince the German car maker to pursue its investment plan on a Greek island, will coordinate all necessary interministerial actions.
VW officials had visited the island Thassos, in the north Aegean, early this year before opting to pursue their plan on Astypalea.
The German company plans to replace the island’s existing fleet of municipal vehicles, including public transport buses and trucks, with equivalent electric models and also install recharging facilities.