Why are Chinese electric cars so popular in Israel?

The Geometry C electric car made by Chinese automaker Geely Auto Group became the best-selling vehicle model in Israel in August, marking the first time that an electric vehicle (EV) topped the monthly list of all vehicle models sold in the country, according to figures recently released by the Israel Vehicle Importers Association (I-via).

This was no surprise. With stylish looks, reasonable prices and low power consumption, Geometri C achieved almost 22 percent market share in Israel’s electric vehicle market in the first half of 2022 and was also nominated by Auto, Israel’s leading car magazine, as Best Buy winner. category of the year”.

“The car can travel up to 460 km on a single charge, equivalent to the length of Israel, the longest of any electric vehicle in the country,” the Jerusalem Post reported as the Chinese EV model was set to enter Israel in July 2021.

A total of 10,460 new EVs were said to have been delivered to customers in Israel by the end of July, 70 percent higher than the same period a year ago, among which the top sellers were still the Geometri C .

The model’s impressive performance epitomizes the strong momentum of at least 10 Chinese EV brands in the Israeli market, including Hongqi, BYD, Weilai, Skyworth and Great Wall.

As a relatively small territory with a dense population, Israel is believed to have significant potential to embrace electric vehicles.

Israel has “its own natural gas resources, relatively low electricity prices and high fuel prices that could push the market to adopt electric vehicles based on electricity generated from natural gas,” said Israeli economic analyst Michal Reut. -Gelbart, noting that battery prices. of EVs have fallen 70 percent in the country over the past seven years.

Israel is also known as a country that tends to adopt technology and innovation, which could help with the transition to electric transportation, added Reut-Gelbart, who is also a former official in the Israeli Finance Ministry’s budget department.

Interest in electric cars has grown in Israel since Tesla entered its market in February 2021. Other EV models, especially those produced by Chinese automakers, soon made great strides.

In 2019, there were only 12 EV models in Israel; while now the number of options for Israeli consumers has doubled with different brands and prices.

Like many others, the Israeli government has implemented policies to encourage the public to use EVs, hoping to lower costs and significantly lower emissions.

In October 2021, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that Israel had set a goal of net zero emissions by 2050. A plan drawn up by the Israeli Ministry of Energy promises that by 2030, Israel will completely ban the import of gasoline vehicles and oil. and car imports will be limited to electric or natural gas vehicles.

Tome Hadar, the automotive editor for Calcalist, Israel’s largest financial newspaper, told Xinhua that the tax also explains why electric vehicles have great potential in Israel.

“Currently in the Israeli market, buyers of electric cars are enjoying a purchase tax of 10 percent, which is much lower than the tax for regular gas cars that goes up to 83 percent,” he said.

Recently, China’s Leapmotor’s T03 EV made Israel its first export destination, adding itself to the Chinese electric cars plying Israeli roads.

“China remains the leading global player in the battery industry,” said a report published by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, noting that “China’s new technologies for fast charging and improved energy density could contribute a lot” to the industry.

“Today over 76 percent of global production originates in China, and so far, the West has been unable to close the gap,” the report added.

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