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 renderVolkswagen 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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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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The EQB lands this summer with a not-so-bad starting price.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is pressing ahead with its electrification goals. Following the release of the EQS flagship electric sedan last year, the automaker is readying the EQB, an electric SUV with up to seven seats. Today, Mercedes announced pricing for the vehicle, and it's surprisingly reasonable. Two trim levels will be offered for the EQB in the United States: Exclusive and Pinnacle, and wecould see an AMG variant at some point down the road.

The EQB comes in two variants, including the EQB 300 and EQB 350, both of which come with all-wheel drive. The EQB 300 offers 225 horsepower and the 350 delivers 288 ponies. Those aren't super-serious numbers and they don't have to be. The EQB competes with vehicles like the Volkswagen ID.4, so mind-blowing performance isn't exactly the goal. Mercedes hasn't given range estimates yet, but they should fall in line with the competition.

2023 Mercedes-Benz EQBThe EQB will come in two powertrain variants, each with two trims.Mercedes-Benz

The SUV comes standard with a 10.25-inch configurable digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch touchscreen. Mercedes includes a good list of standard safety features, including lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, and active brake assist. Additionally, the EQB's navigation system routes the vehicle for the best efficiency and can help locate charging stations.

The 2023 Mercedes-Benz EQB 300 starts at $56,800, including a $1,050 destination charge. A range-topping Pinnacle trim is available for $59,350. The EQB 350 starts at $60,350. Mercedes says the SUV will go on sale in summer 2022.

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