Tesla looks to be expanding on its Israel market presence as recent indicators point to the all-electric carmaker bringing its popular in-house insurance program into the country.
According to a report published by local news publication Globes, Tesla insurance officials have been in talks with Direct Insurance – Financial Investments Ltd., one of the largest insurance companies in Israel. The coverage is expected to be either comprehensive or vehicle-only damage protection rather than involve mandated driver, passenger, and pedestrian injury protection. Notably, Tesla has been working to expand its insurance offerings into Europe and China as well after taking off in California.
This news details yet another move by Tesla to solidify its foothold in Israel since registering its wholly-owned subsidiary, Tesla Motors Israel, at the end of last year. The entity creation resolved a legal hurdle with The Motor Vehicle Division of Misrad Hatachbura, the country’s governing body of transportation, which requires businesses to register locally if they want to import their vehicles. In addition, auto companies must also offer maintenance services if importing more than 20 cars, a requirement Tesla also looks to be addressing.
In April, the Jerusalem Post cited anonymous sources reporting that former import executive Ilan Benaro had been hired as Tesla’s technical service manager for Israel. Benaro’s duties are said to include training technical teams and setting up specialized repair shops for servicing Tesla vehicles. As part of its next steps, the company’s launch team reportedly plans to use its current stock of cars in the country for customer test drives once it begins direct marketing.
In another recent run-in with Israel’s regulatory bodies, members of its Ministry of Transport and Road Safety initially banned Tesla’s Autopilot for use after being under the impression that the system is designed to replace human driving. After explanatory talks between company representatives and ministry officials cleared up the “driver assist” intention of the feature, its use was reinstated. However, features such as Smart Summon are still not authorized.
Other manufacturers’ electric vehicles are already being sold in Israel as the country moves to have “zero pollutants” in its transportation industry by 2030. BMW, Porsche, and Renault have battery-powered cars on the road, the most affordable being a Model 3 competitor in the Renault ZOE, available for 129,990 Israeli New Shekels, or $37,431 USD. With products that match its citizens’ long-term energy goals, Tesla’s move to enter the Israeli auto market looks to be a winning strategy.