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Tesla has been looking to expand to Israel since 2019 when the company registered a wholly-owned subsidiary in the Middle Eastern territory in December of that year. “Tesla Motors Israel” held the intention of selling both its cars and its mobile energy storage systems in Israel.
Now, Tesla has received a Commercial Import License from the Israeli government’s Ministry of Transport.
First reported by Globes, Tesla was in possession of a “Small Importer” license, which allowed the company to import up to twenty cars to Israel. These vehicles were likely used for testing purposes and to show Government officials, who ultimately held the key to Tesla’s entrance into the market, the capabilities of all-electric cars.
Globes also reported that Tesla will launch its Online Design Studio in the coming days so consumers in Israel can customize and order any of the four all-electric cars that the company currently produces. It is unclear if the Model 3 and Model Y would be imported from China to Israel, or if the builds would all come from Tesla’s factory in Fremont, California. Tesla does import some Model 3 builds from Giga Shanghai to Europe, as the company’s Giga Berlin production facility is still under construction and demand increased at the tail-end of 2020.
Tesla’s main competition in Israel will be BMW, Porsche, and Renault, who have supplied Israeli citizens with electric cars for a few years. The Renault Zoe is currently the most affordable EV in Israel at a price of 129,990 Israeli New Shekels (USD 37,431).
According to a report from the Times of Israel, Israel is one of twelve countries in the world to propose a complete phase-out of fossil fuels by 2030. The Energy Ministry says that it plans to completely terminate the operation of petrol-based products in favor of natural gas or electric. “We intend to reach a situation in which Israel’s industry will be based on natural gas, and most importantly, transportation in Israel will be based on natural gas or electricity,” Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said, during an energy conference in the most populated Israeli city of Tel Aviv. “From 2030 onwards, the State of Israel will create alternatives and will no longer allow the import of cars that run on gasoline and diesel fuel.” While they will still utilize natural gas, the overall goal is “zero pollutants,” Steinitz added.