Tesla setting up Israel R&D office

Tesla

The electric car venture's new office, managed by Adi Gigi, will scout for Israeli startups and technologies.

US-based electric carmaker Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) is setting up an R&D representative office in Israel, sources inform "Globes." The news comes at the same time as Elon Musk's electric car giant is set to begin marketing its cars and solar energy products in Israel.

In the first stage, Israel R&D operations will focus on scouting for local startups and technologies involved in areas of interest for Tesla as well as talks and information exchange with Israeli companies, with some of whom Tesla has already had a business and technological relationship over the past two or three years.

These include at least two to three auto-tech companies as well as artificial intelligence (AI) developers and advanced avionics companies as well as companies in other fields.

According to one source close to the matter, Tesla is also mulling establishing an R&D center that will work directly with the company's R&D center in Palo Alto. If Tesla sets up an Israeli R&D center, it would employ several dozen engineers and be of similar dimensions to the Israel development centers of many other carmakers and Tier 1 car parts manufacturers and suppliers.

Sources inform "Globes" that Tesla's Israel R&D representative office will be managed by Adi Gigi, an Israeli who has been based in California for several years and has been working for Tesla. She is a graduate of the IDF's Mamram Computing and Information Systems Unit and the Israel Navy Technology College. She has degrees from Bar-Ilan University and an MBA from Stanford.

Tesla's R&D Division is considered one of the largest and most sophisticated operating in the US today. It is involved in many futuristic and breakthrough engineering fields including electric vehicles, next generation batteries, rocket propulsion, advanced communications, solar energy, AI, laboratory planning, and more. In 2018 alone, Tesla spent $1.5 billion on R&D, double the amount it spent in 2016.

"Globes" was the first to report in October that Tesla was considering entering the Israel electric vehicles market.

Musk has himself come to Israel several times in the past few years in what were termed 'family visits.' During these visits, he has refused to discuss business matters and denied any contacts with Israeli auto-tech companies.

Tesla's entry into Israel's electric car market comes after stepped up production of the Tesla 3 in the US and increased sales across Europe, while at the same time Israel's electric vehicle market has been growing with the Audi E-TRON and Jaguar I-PACE selling hundreds of cars. At the same time, regulations have been changed allowing local car importers to be owned by foreign corporations, thus allowing Tesla to set up its own import subsidiary in Israel.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 1, 2020

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2020

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