Open Access Government spoke with Avner Flor, Senior Director, Division of Motor Vehicles, within Israel’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety about the progress of electric buses and vehicles in the country
In Israel, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety is tasked with the planning, development and regulation of infrastructure as well as integrated transport systems. In their work, there is a particular emphasis on safety and promoting mobility and logistics services, which will contribute to social and economic growth in Israel. (1)
The development of electric-powered buses
As an example of the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety’s work, this article will focus on the development of electric buses and vehicles in Israel. We know that the Minister of Transport and Road Safety in Israel, Bezalel Smotrich wants to encourage the development of electric-powered buses in the country. It is hoped that by 2025, 60% of buses in Israel will be electric-powered.
In 2019, Smotrich commented that Ministry was “advancing this plan with a large investment. The objective is to reduce pollution,” as studies reveal that buses are not great when it comes to air pollution. “We are moving with giant steps towards the goal of a future with a greener, cheaper and more efficient transportation system,” the Minister explained. (2)
The development of electric vehicles in Israel
In this interview with Avner Flor, Senior Director, Division of Motor Vehicles within the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety, Israel, we learn how investing in this form of power reduces air pollution and is a significant step towards the ambition of a greener, cheaper and more efficient transportation system in Israel.
We also find out what infrastructure is currently in place for electric vehicle charging networks in Israel and where this could be heading in the future. The Minister of Transport and Road Safety in Israel, Bezalel Smotrich, has certified the development of electric vehicles, Avner explains. As the interview kicks off, Avner explains that in Israel, there are currently around 1,000 electric vehicles powered by an electric engine. In 2019, over 20% of private vehicles were hybrid, that is vehicles that use two or more types of power, (3) or plug-in hybrid vehicles (4) (the latter can be plugged in and charged by an external source of electric power).
Electric vehicles: Israel’s Ministry of Energy
In Israel, there is a standard concerning electric vehicles – which says that if you do not want to replace batteries and want to recharge the battery at a charging station – this is the responsibility of the Ministry of Energy (5), Avner explains.
It is worth noting here an example of a project supported by Israel’s Ministry of Energy concerns a folding electric vehicle by a company who won a grant of NIS 2 million. (6) Avner then shares with us Israel’s plans to scale up electric vehicle use and charging stations in the country.
“The Minister of Energy plans to set up 2,000 public charging stations by the end of 2021 in Israel. Other parts of the world, such as the UK and Germany, want 100% of private vehicles to be electric by 2030.
“We don’t know where the world will be going, not only in terms of manufacturing cars. While in Jerusalem, the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety wants to achieve this aim by 2035 but for now, we await a decision on this.
“As part of Israel’s public transportation system, there are currently 100 electric buses in Haifa, Jerusalem and other areas like Tel Aviv where there is light rail. There is an ambition to increase the number of electric buses in the country which is part of the Ministry of Transport and Road Safety’s policy.”
The future of electric vehicles and buses in Israel
Avner concludes the interview by saying that in February 2020, the Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Bezalel Smotrich, certified the manufacture and import of electric vehicles until 2030. We wish the Government of Israel well as they encourage an increase in the uptake of electric vehicles and buses in the future.