Excerpt from The Economist
A butterfly-shaped island in the central Aegean hopes to become Greece’s first carbon-free tourist destination. Under a deal with the government, Volkswagen, a carmaker, has donated several new electric vehicles for use by Astypalea’s public services; it will sell others at cost price to its 1,200 year-round residents. In return, the government has bumped up subsidies for islanders to buy electric cars and will build a hybrid solar and wind-fuelled power plant to replace a cluster of polluting diesel-fired generators.
Unlike other nearby islands, Astypalea is not connected to Greece’s electricity grid. With only 3,000 rooms for visitors in small hotels or flats, tourism is still low-key. Many residents make a living the old-fashioned way: raising goats, keeping bees and fishing. The island was selected for Volkswagen’s e-mobility experiment after Nikos Komineas, the go-ahead mayor, contacted the transport ministry for help in finding an electric bus to try out on its rugged roads.
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