“Touring the assembly lines at Audi, BMW, and Mercedes manufacturer Daimler and meeting the heads of the most prestigious automotive companies in the world, was a unique experience and opened up great opportunities for us.” So says City Transformer CEO Dr. Asaf Formoza. City Transformer, an Israeli company working on a foldable electric vehicle meant to close the gap between cars and two-wheelers, was one of 12 Israeli companies taking part in a whirlwind roadshow of Germany’s automotive industry at the end of April.
We spoke with Hemdat Sagi, Commercial Attaché in Berlin, who told us about the event: “Germany has set a goal of manufacturing a million electric cars by 2020, and is investing extensive efforts to meet this ambitious goal. Moreover, the German automotive industry has identified the potential in Israeli innovation, especially in the arena of sustainable transportation. Israeli companies have a number of relevant, potentially breakthrough, technologies to offer in this arena. Our mission is to bring the two sides together.”
Israel’s Foreign Trade Administration identified the opportunity for Israeli companies in German’s automotive industry back in 2012, and initiated the signing of an MOU between the German Ministry of Transportation and the Fuel Choices Initiative in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. This delegation is a result of the process started then, and the Administration plans continued efforts to draw attention to Israeli technologies in this industry.
Daniel Barel, CEO of SoftWheel, a young company’s whose ambitious goal is to “reinvent the wheel” through innovative suspension technologies, came out of the roadshow very optimistic. “We saw tremendous interest in our technology on the part of the large German companies, all of whom expressed interest in further testing. We’re grateful to all the organizers for putting together such an impressive event. Getting in the door of these world-leading companies is no trivial matter, and they did it successfully and professionally.”
The roadshow included forums and networking events with high-level managers at BMW’s headquarters, Audi headquarters and at Mercedes manufacturer Daimler. All the participants commented on the unique opportunity of getting access to the most influential places and people in the world’s automotive industry, including meetings with the inventor of the Smart car, Professor Tomforde, which was exciting for the Israeli companies.
Ophir Gore, Head of Energy at Israel NewTech, concluded the event: “The fact that these German companies opened their doors to this Israeli delegation, and the evident and real interest they showed in the Israeli technologies, which focus on solutions for sustainable transportation and fuel alternatives, makes me very optimistic that we’ll see business partnerships emerge soon.”
The automotive roadshow was organized by: the Economic Offices in Berlin, under the leadership of Commercial Attaché Hemdat Sagi, the Economic Office in Munich, under the leadership of Mordechai Ish-Shalom, and their teams, the Israeli Export Institute under the organization of Uri Pechter, by Saar Shafir, Deputy Director, Fuel Choices Initiative, Prime Minister’s Office and Israel NewTech.
The Israeli companies which participated in the delegation were: Arilou, BNC Systems, City Transformer, Discretix, Driivz, Elbit System Land, enVerid, Ham-Let, Phinergy, Redbend Software, SoftWheel, and NHT.