In 2001 the Greek island of Mykonos introduced eight electric three-wheelers to meet the challenges created by the layout of Hora, capital of Mykonos. These were considered well suited for operating within the historical old town which is characterised by very few open spaces and many steep, narrow streets, paved in stoned slabs.
Background & Objectives
Within certain areas of the Old Town private cars are allowed only in between November and February and in the very city centre cars are not allowed at all due to the dimensions of the streets. An alternative was required particularly to assist in the transportation of people and goods from the harbour to the city centre. This had previously been done by donkeys and small vehicles powered by combustion engines.
An in-depth survey was implemented in Mykonos in order to define the local mobility needs of residents and tourists. The results of this survey suggested to the Municipality of Mykonos that there was a demand for small electric three-wheeler vehicles. As a result the Energy Centre of Cyclades, in close co-operation with the Municipality of Mykonos, replaced eight conventional vehicles with one-seater electric three-wheelers.
The vehicles used were APE-50 E made by the Italian scooter manufacturer PIAGGIO. This investment was partially made as a result of assistance provided through the E-TOUR project funded through the Energy Programme of the European Commission.>A centrally located recharging station was installed by PIAGGIO and the possibility of charging the vehicles through the use of photovoltaics is currently being considered.
A rental scheme was set up in order to make the vehicles available to the public. This scheme was branded ‘My Hermes’. After a very problematic starting phase, the E-TOUR project was succesfully implemented.
"My Hermes" illustrates how deciding to use electric vehicles can often be the most practical choice. The Energy Centre of Cyclades’ monitoring of the usage patterns of My Hermes through detailed customer questionnaires have indicated that the electric three wheelers have met the needs of those they were aimed at extremely well. Their small size allows them to overcome the difficulties other vehicles have had to face within the steep, narrow streets of Hora.
In addition, the island has received much positive publicity from the Greek press and been characterized as a ‘green island’ with the authorities received very flattering comments concerning their ecological sensitivity. This is likely to have enhanced the island’s appeal to tourists especially those who value the sustainability of their holiday choices highly.