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China’s Geely looks to dominate Israel’s electric car market

CM 12/08/2021


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“The launch of Tesla in Israel has really helped open the door for electric vehicles (EVs) in Israel,” says Ronen Yablon, CEO of Geely Israel. “Until this spring, the number of EVs in Israel was tiny, less than 5,000 in the country. But now, thanks to Tesla and other models like the Hyundai Ioniq, close to 10,000 models will be sold this year, and I believe that will double next year. Our company is on a mission to build Geely as one of the largest brands in Israel in the coming years.”

Most Israelis have never even heard of the Chinese brand Geely (pronounced Jeely), but they will soon. The company has been the top-selling domestic carmaker in China for the last four years, and is preparing to launch in Israel, the first Western market it is entering, before the end of 2021.
Geely Automobile Holdings is a conglomerate based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang that sells a number of auto brands worldwide including Volvo, Lotus, Lynk & Co. and Proton, as well as its namesake brand, Geely auto. Despite its lack of name recognition here, the company believes that the first car it plans to launch in Israel, the Geometry C, will be able to achieve a strong market share here quickly.
The car can travel as far as 460 km. on one charge, equivalent to the length of the State of Israel, the longest of any electric vehicle in the country, Yablon says. A fully electric family crossover vehicle, it comes equipped with an advanced electric motor with a maximum of 204 horsepower, accelerating to 100 km. in 6.9 seconds. The car was recently found compliant with European Union standards, receiving the WVTA certification recognized by Israel.
Ronen Yablon, CEO of Geely Israel. (Photo credit: Tamir Levy)Ronen Yablon, CEO of Geely Israel. (Photo credit: Tamir Levy)
The price for the Geometry C in Israel has not been set yet, but in China, prices for various models run from $20,000 to $28,000.
“I can’t say yet what our price will be, but we are aiming for the mainstream market,” Yablon says. “We will be more accessible for the average buyer than Tesla.”

Geely will be marketed locally by the Union Motors Group, a thirty-year-old distributor that also represents Toyota and the fashion chain H&M in Israel. Yablon held executive positions with Toyota in Israel for six years before starting with Geely, so he knows the business.
The global outlook for EVs recently turned a corner, Yablon says. “Until a year ago, it was not clear that EVs would catch on in the market, but now it is clear that an EV revolution is here. Virtually every car manufacturer has said that they intend to stop making gas models in the coming decade and move to electric charging. The question now is how quickly each market will make the transition.”
In Europe, countries are investing heavily in subsidizing EV sales to help encourage their adoption, with Norway is leading the way, Yablon says. Norway’s incentives include 0% VAT and import taxes on EVs, as well as parking benefits, helping make more than 80% of new car buyers choose electric vehicles.
In Israel, the government is offering discounts on its very high taxes for new cars, and buyers can save some NIS 2000 on fees when their register an electric car. While those tax benefits will help Geely to be able to sell at a competitive price, the country could do more to encourage EV sales, Yablon says.
Even without incentives, the benefits of buying an electric vehicle are clear, Yablon says.  “if a driver drives 10,000-15,000 kilometers per year, he will save about NIS 10,000,” Yablon says. That comes out to NIS 8,000 saved on the car’s fuel, which costs about a fifth of gas, as well as cheaper maintenance costs.
“An EV today costs a little bit more than other cars, but you’ll quickly make it back,” Yablon says. “By 2023, we expect that EVs will cost the same as regular cars.”
There are also the environmental benefits. EVs emit fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants than gasoline-powered cars, and are a central component of global programs to fight climate change. An electric car can save an average of 1.5 million grams of CO2 over gas-powered ones, studies have found.
Israel has been investing heavily in developing its EV charging infrastructure. More than 1000 EV chargers are spread around Israel, primarily in parking lots, including 80 fast chargers, Yablon says.
“Most people charge their autos overnight. Some 70-80% of charges are done at home,” Yablon says. “In addition, most malls and large facilities now have charging stations where you can charge your car, and pay through an app. If you can’t wait the 3-4 hours to takes for a full charge, there are fast charging stops that can give you enough for an extra 100 kilometers in about 15 minutes.”
In Jerusalem, for example, there are 10 charging locations around town and two fast chargers. “Most people don’t get stuck if they plan ahead at home,” Yablon says. “And never having to go to a gas station is very convenient.”
“The first question customers always ask is, ‘will I be able to get to Eilat?’ Our cars have the highest range in Israel, 460 km on a full charge. That’s more than the distance from the north of the country to the south. In addition, the state has committed to investing NIS 30m. in the country’s charging infrastructure, and the new government is very interested in pushing this forward.”
Israel has long sought to be a pioneer in the EV space. Better Place, the highly-touted Israeli electric car company that went bankrupt in 2013, was an idea ahead of its time, Yablon says. “Because of technology advances, it’s a completely different situation today. Better Place cars had a range of only 100 km, and there was no infrastructure for it, so they had to create an entire infrastructure of battery-swapping stations. Now, there is no impediment to growth.”
The launch of Tesla in Israel was a moment that pushed EVs into the public spotlight, Yablon says. “I don’t fear competing with them. They have done a very good job opening the gate for us here. The better Tesla does in Israel, the better we’ll do.”
For now, Yablon is focused on launching in the coming months. What’s after that? “It’s not clear yet,” he says. “We’ll focus on the Geometry C in 2022, and then add another model or two in 2023. Geely had dozens of excellent models in the Chinese market. We plan to be a game-changer in Israel for many years.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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CM

The host of Coffee Mouth Scare Crow Show and CEO of 452 Impact, Inc. Here is food for thought. Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." John 3:16 "For God so love ed the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall be saved."

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