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The Volkswagen Group and the Greek government are planning to roll out an electric transport system on an island in the Mediterranean, with an agreement signed between the two parties this week.
The project, which will initially last six years on the island of Astypalea, aims to work towards the goal of developing "a model island for climate-neutral mobility".
Based on the development of an electrified transport network, the program will include a fully electric ride-sharing service and a car sharing service for electric cars, e-scooters and e-bikes. Users can book this type of transportation through a "mobility app".
Commercial vehicles and those used by police and rescue services as well as public fleets will also be powered electrically, while Volkswagen will develop both the public and private charging infrastructure on the island. A total of around 1,500 combustion vehicles will be exchanged for 1,000 electric cars.
A green shift
The island itself extends over almost 100 square kilometers and, according to Volkswagen, is home to around 1,300 people, but attracts over 70,000 tourists annually.
The public transport service currently consists of two buses. The German automobile giant states that "the energy demand is met almost exclusively from fossil fuels".
The idea is a combination of electrified transportation and charging infrastructure powered by renewable sources like sun and wind to change this.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was a firm believer in partnerships.
"Governments cannot deliver alone and the private sector is not the answer to every question," he added. "That is why this ambitious undertaking is the result of the close partnership between the Greek state and the Volkswagen Group."
The plan drawn up by Volkswagen and Greece aims to redevelop the transport infrastructure of an entire island.
Similar projects are also being examined in the UK. In September the Scottish city of Aberdeen – known for its close ties to the oil industry in the North Sea – announced that it would work with experts from the energy major BP to reduce emissions and "become a climate-positive city".
This collaboration will focus on a number of areas including: the use of hydrogen in transport and for heat and electricity; the development of "Solutions for Clean, Low-Emission Vehicles"; and increasing energy efficiency in buildings.
Small changes, big impact?
Other, much smaller projects to integrate sustainable technologies into the built environment are also in the works.
In the English city of Worcester, for example, the city council has overseen the introduction of 22 solar-powered compaction tanks and 20 recycling plants.
The "solar containers" charge a 12-volt battery, which in turn drives a compressor and helps the container to store larger amounts of waste than conventional ones.
"The solar-powered trash cans, which compact waste so it can hold more, allow council workers to spend less time emptying trash cans and more time cleaning streets and tending to other areas outside of the city center," she said Andy Stafford vice chairman of the Worcester City Council's environmental committee said in a statement Thursday.