Electric Vehicles

Volkswagen, Greece agree to turn island of Astypalea into an electric vehicle oasis

Astypalea is an island in the southern Aegean Sea that currently runs primarily on fossil fuels.

Photo by Cavan Images/Getty Images

Volkswagen Group and Greece have signed a memorandum of understanding that will create a mobility experience experiment on one of the country's islands. Astypalea is set to become a model for climate-neutral mobility, according to a release announcing the news. The project is set to run six years.

"I strongly believe in partnerships. Governments can't deliver on their own and the private sector isn't the answer to every question. That is why this ambitious endeavour is the result of the close partnership between the Greek state and Volkswagen Group. A world leader in the automotive industry that aims at making its fleet of vehicles and the company carbon neutral by 2050; coming together with an European nation in full transformation mode," said the Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Astypalea Volkswagen render Volkswagen has provided an illustration of what they view the future of Astypalea to look like.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Astypalea is located in the southern Aegean Sea and consists of about 100 square kilometers of land. That make it about 1.5 times as big as Disney World and around the same size as Washington D.C. The island is visited by about 72,000 tourists a year, making it far less popular of an attraction than either Disney World or Washington D.C.

To achieve the climate-neutral status, the island will transform its current mobility services to electric vehicles, as well as move their electric grid to renewable power generation. The power sources will move to solar and wind.

Additionally, new mobility services including vehicle- and ride sharing will be implemented, exchanging the current limited bus system of the island (there is currently only two buses servicing the entire island) for more extensive transport. Volkswagen says that these efforts will "help reduce and optimize traffic" and include e-scooters from the Group's SEAT brand and e-bikes in addition to electric cars (this includes the ID.3 and ID.4 as well as forthcoming additions to the VW lineup).

In total, 1,000 electric vehicles will replace about 1,500 vehicles with combustion engines. Volkswagen will install Elli chargers across the island, offering about 230 private and several public charging points.

Dr. Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group, said: "Politics, business and society have a common responsibility to limit climate change. Our long-term goal is climate-neutral mobility for everyone. And with the Astypalea project we will explore how to realise that vision already today E-mobility and smart mobility will improve the quality of life, while contributing to a carbon neutral future."

The project will also see emergency services vehicles be electrified.

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An all-electric vintage Bentley offers retro looks and modern tech.

Photo courtesy of Lunaz

It's been a busy few months. Lunaz has increased its U.K. electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing footprint by 500 percent and added the world's first electric classic Bentley to its portfolio.

"Restoration, re-engineering and electrification responds to the global requirement for a clean-air future," said David Lorenz, Founder, Lunaz. "The Lunaz proprietary powertrain has been proven by furthering the legacies of the most significant cars in history. The time is now right to establish a significantly expanded presence to answer the global need for much wider conversion applications. Our commitment to the UK as a global centre of technical excellence in EV engineering is signalled with the commissioning of a permanent home for our rapidly growing business."

New home

The new Lunaz production home, designed from the ground up, will be completed this spring. It will feature a state-of-the-art design and a research and development hub. The company will have the ability to finish surfaces, engineer batteries, restore the bodies of vehicles, and crafts key components in hard and soft finishes in-house.

Customers will be able to access a hosting space on the second floor of the building, which has an uninterrupted view of Silverstone Racetrack. Beyond race days, the suite will be used as consultation space with the Lunaz design team.

Lunaz Bentley Continental

Lunaz is now offering electrified versions of vintage Bentley Continentals.

Photo courtesy of Lunaz

Electrified vintage Bentley Continental

Following the offering of an all-electric vintage Rolls-Royce, Lunaz is responding to demand, offering a full production of the world's first electric Bnetleys.

"The Bentley Continental is the definitive British grand touring machine," said Lorenz. "Customers across the globe asked us to create the world's first electric expressions of these iconic cars. The result marries the beauty and presence of these extraordinary cars with a proven answer to the key questions of reliability, usability and sustainability that surrounds classic car ownership. We are proud to further the legacy of the Bentley Continental with the start of full production from our significantly expanded UK manufacturing presence."

The most recently completed car is a 1961 Bentley S3 Continental Flying Spur by H.J Mulliner. It is presented with a two-tone paint job and an interior that is finished in hand-restored lustrous green leather with burr walnut trim. Modern conveniences have been fitted to the car including power steering and air conditioning. An infotainment screen with navigation and Apple CarPlay functionality is also included.

This particular model will be used as a daily driver by a U.K. car collector so hill seats have been integrated into the rear.

Lunaz will now permanently release production allocation for Bentley Continental S1, S2, S3 in two-door and four-door configuration. In addition to fixed-head cars, the company will also offer rare Continental Drophead Coupé examples.

Prices for original factory steel-body cars start at £350,000 excluding local taxes.


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Polestar currently operates four showrooms in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Polestar

Polestar, an electric performance car brand, will be opening 15 new sales locations in the U.S. by the end of 2021. Called Polestar Spaces, the showrooms are more in line with what Tesla offers and less like a traditional auto dealership.

Each Polestar Space features minimalist Scandinavian-like design, pulling together the heritage of the company with a modern sales environment. Each location is staffed by non-commissioned Polestar Specialists. Test drives can be coordinated on-site or at home.

In the next few months, locations in Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver, Seattle; South Florida; and Washington D.C. will open. Those new showrooms will be established in connection with established retailer groups in the area. Additional information regarding the D.C. and Florida locations is expected soon.

2021 Polestar 2 The fastback Polestar 2 is a head-turner. Photo courtesy of Polestar

The second-half of 2021 will welcome the opening of additional showrooms in Atlanta; Central and South New Jersey; Connecticut; Dallas; Detroit; Minneapolis; Phoenix; and Orange County, California.

Specific showroom details are available at Polestar.com/Spaces.

"In 2019 we stated our goal of servicing 85% of the addressable EV market within a year of the Polestar 2 launch," said Gregor Hembrough, Head of Polestar in North America. "With these 2021 appointments, we will accomplish that and more- especially with our free pickup and delivery servicing within 150 miles of a brick-and-mortar Polestar location."

Polestar Spaces are already open in Los Angeles (Santa Monica) and Manhattan, plus two locations in the San Francisco Bay Area (Corte Madera and Santa Clara).

The automaker currently offers the Polestar 2 for sale in the U.S. AutomotiveMap recently had the opportunity to test drive the car for review.

It was recently confirmed that the Polestar Precept concept is headed to production. The concept version of the car is noted for its sustainable materials and minimalist design.

Additionally, Polestar and Koenigsegg are working on a project.

Further markets for expansion will be announced later in 2021.

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