U.S.-based electric car maker Tesla Inc. will enter the Israeli vehicle market in January, financial daily Globes reported on Monday, opening a pop-up store in the Ramat Aviv Mall in northern Tel Aviv.
Tesla registered a fully owned subsidiary company in Israel last month - Tesla Motors Israel Ltd. and earlier this month, Tesla advertised it was looking for a country manager in Israel and sales manager.
The automotive giant will open up a pop-up store in the Ramat Aviv Mall, which caters to the upper socioeconomic class of north Tel Aviv and its suburbs - especially suitable as prices for Tesla's leading models, S and X, are estimated to stand between 400,000-500,000 shekels ($115,000-$145,000).
Tesla’s attempt to bring its successful fleet of electric cars and alternative energy sources to Israel comes just six months after the Ministry of Energy announced it is planning the construction and installation of at least 2,500 battery-powered vehicle charging stations by mid-2020.
The ministry has also set a target that electric cars will comprise one-quarter of all cars sold in Israel in 2025. Government estimates concluded that this target would require 150,000 private charging stations and 13,000 public ones.
Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz called the plan a "comprehensive and important step that corresponds to my vision to end Israel's dependence on polluting energy sources by 2030."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk had visited Israel several times in the past, looking for business opportunities across the "start-up" nation.
Musk met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his private residence in Jerusalem last year and bringing future technologies over to Israel, including energy grids and autonomous vehicles.
Netanyahu added that Israel's vast southern Negev desert could potentially house solar systems that could power all of Israel.
Musk also visited Israel in 2016 on a visit to the Jerusalem manufacturing plant of Israeli driver-assistance systems company Mobileye. On that occasion, his visit was also secret with Musk arriving and departing in his private jet. He subsequently integrated Mobileye's sensors into his Tesla cars but the collaboration was halted after a Tesla car was involved in an accident. Mobileye has since been acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion.
This year Tesla sold 75,000 cars in Europe and is continuing to enter smaller markets like Israel due to high customer demand. Tesla began selling cars in neighboring Jordan three years ago.
First published: 12:57 , 12.31.19