Israel goes EV

From 2030, residents of Israel will no longer be able to buy cars fueled by petrol or diesel, the Israeli government has announced.

Instead, only electric cars will be available for purchase.

It’s part of a wider plan to move Israel from a dependence on petrol, diesel and coal, and will kick off a “critical mass” aimed at shifting the local automotive market away from ICE car sales.

Announced by energy minister Yuval Steinitz on Tuesday, the plan will include massive tax reductions for electric cars sold in Israel, which the government hopes will lead to more affordable EVs for Israelis.

The move is in addition to charging infrastructure plans the Israeli government is already undertaking.

“We are already encouraging by funding charging stations, more than 2,000 new charging stations around the country,” Steinitz told Reuters.

In Israel there were approximately 2.8 million privately owned vehicles on the road in 2016, according to statistics published online by the Israeli government.

Of those today, there are only a few dozen that are battery electric, according to information given to Reuters.

The tipping point to increase EV uptake is expected to be around 177,000 – or around 6 per cent – of electric cars on the road, the energy minister says, after which numbers are expected to dramatically increase to 1.5 million EVs on the road by 2030.

After that, it’s go electric, or go elsewhere – unless you’re driving a bus or truck, which will still have the option to run on natural compressed gas.

“From 2030 we won’t allow anymore the import of diesel or gasoline cars to Israel,” Steinitz says.

Israel does not have an established car manufacturing industry of its own, with statistics showing that only 0.1% trucks and ‘special vehicles’ (ambulances, fire engines etc) are made in the country.

It does however have a strong reputation for technology startups, and has in recent times become a focus for automotive giants wanting to access the country’s innovative talent.

One Israeli mobility company of note is Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based autonomous car tech startup which attracted the interest of tech giant Intel last year leading to a buy out to the tune of $US15.3 billion ($A21.5 billion).

In 2013, Israel’s only maker of electric cars, Tel Aviv-based Better Place, went famously bankrupt after failing to sell its fleet of EVs to a ‘skeptical public‘.

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