US-based electric car maker Tesla is starting 2021 as an official importer of cars into Israel. Sources inform "Globes" that Tesla has received a licence from the Ministry of Transport for commercial imports of its vehicles, enabling it to begin a full import operation with no limit on volume. Up to now, Tesla has operated in Israel as a "small importer", allowing it to import up to twenty vehicles, mainly for testing. This is the first time that a vehicle manufacturer has received a licence for direct importing and marketing of vehicles in Israel, rather than through a local dealer or in partnership with a dealer.
The company will start to take orders online from Israeli customers within the next few days, and the first Tesla cars can be expected on Israel's roads within months, subject to the lockdown situation. Tesla is currently examining sites for its special charging stations and obtaining licences for them, and also acting to expedite the granting of permits to set up charging points in public buildings and multi-occupancy residential buildings. Tesla's road services will be provided by Shagrir, with customers being offered a special insurance plan based on vehicle usage. Insurance will apparently be offered through Direct Insurance.
Marketing in Israel will initially be of the Tesla Model 3, which will be offered in several versions and driving ranges. Prices have not yet been published, but the leading version will probably be the new basic version of the car, the Tesla Model 3 SR+, with a range of about 440 kilometers between charges, which recently began being sold in Europe at a discounted price of €40,000 including tax, and before tax benefits. In Israel, the Tesla Model 3 cars can be expected to sell for NIS 250,000-350,000, depending on the version. In addition, the Tesla Y crossover model, which is based on the Tesla Model 3, is expected to arrive in Israel soon for testing.