April’s SMMT International Newsletter features guest writer Ofer Fohrer, Minister for Economic Affairs, Economics & Trade Mission, Embassy of Israel, London.
Since I was very young, I have always been a fan of cars and I could not wait to have a driver’s license. The first car I owned was hot hatchback – a 2001 Toyota Yaris Sport. It was quick, agile and had a lot of horsepower for a relatively lightweight frame. Many years have passed since then and these days I drive a 7-seater Ford, a completely different car than my younger self drove two decades ago. Just as my preferences have changed over the past 20 years, the preferences of automotive consumers have changed as well, and Israel is proving to be well placed to help manufacturers adapt to altering demand.
The younger me was all about big and strong engines, while the older me is more focused on technology, safety and reducing my environmental footprint while on the road. This shift in consumer preferences, which is easily to exemplify in my case, is one of the cornerstones which created the vibrant and innovative atmosphere of the Israeli automotive eco-system.
Historically, Israel has never been a candidate to become one of the major players of the automotive world. It always has been a small market for automotive manufacturing and in the few cases in which automotive manufacturing did take place, it rarely worked out as planned.
Nonetheless, with the emergence of technology as a crucial factor in the automotive world, and with the coming of age of EV solutions, Israel, a country with little automotive manufacturing history other than an experimental, and perhaps premature, experience in battery charging and battery switching facilities, became one of the world’s leaders in new automotive innovative solutions. This took many forms, from ADAS to connected cars to automotive cyber security.
This is why major automotive manufacturers decided to open a research and development centre in Israel, as well as a number of innovation centres. Global players such as Ford, GM, Volkswagen Group, Faurecia, Continental and Bosch have all staked their claim.
With the emergence of electric vehicles and the pivotal role of technology in the modern electric motor, Israel provides an opportunity to implement new breakthroughs from the ‘startup nation’ into the engines and charging facilities of tomorrow.
In order to explore the future integration of Israeli innovation in the fields of EV and EV charging, the Israeli Economic Mission to the UK have collaborated with SMMT for a bespoke showcasing event in conjunction with SMMT Electrified 2021.
During the Israel EV Innovate event, six Israeli companies presented their solutions. Chacratec, REE, Algolion, Enervibe, Driivz and EVR Motors presented their unique solutions to UK companies. They spanned several sectors and included automotive manufacturers, energy companies and Tier 2 suppliers, all looking to explore possibilities for cooperation with British Business. If you missed the event, you can always catch up on YouTube.
Ofer Fohrer, Minister for Economic Affairs
Economics & Trade Mission, Embassy of Israel, London