Ford wasn’t the only major global automaker to open a new facility in Israel this month during EcoMotion week. So too did the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, one of the largest (and least conventional) of auto-industry groups.
A joint project between the Franco-Japanese industrial giant and the Israel Innovation Authority, the Alliance Innovation Lab will give an initial batch of ten Israeli mobility startups the chance to develop and test their technologies with input from the allied automakers in the fields of autonomous driving, cyber security, and big data. Those include Apollo Power (solar energy), Argus (cyber security), AutoTalks (V2X communications), BrightWay Vision (driver assistance), Electreon (electric-vehicle charging), Enigmatos (cyber security), IRP systems (electric motors), Karamba (cyber security), Moodify (in-car fragrances), Saferide (cyber security), and Upstream (cyber security).
The 1,600-square-meter (17,000-square-foot) facility was opened by an array of Alliance executives, state and municipal government officials, and ambassadors from Japan, France, and the European Union.
“With Israel as a global innovation hub, particularly with automotive technology, this new lab is a natural next step for us and will allow the Alliance to leverage the strengths of Israel’s startup ecosystem,” said Alliance executive vice-president Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi. “Through collaborations with promising local startups with cutting-edge technologies, we aim to develop a variety of key technologies, which will be essential for the future of mobility.”
It’s the third such facility opened by the Alliance, following similar locations in Silicon Valley and Shanghai. Together, Renault, Nissan, and Mitsubishi sold over 10.7 million vehicles around the world last year – rivaling the 10.8 million reported by the sprawling Volkswagen Group and the 10.6 million moved by Toyota, which are widely reported as the world’s largest automakers. Unlike those groups, however, the Alliance is made up of three independent automakers sharing resources and mutual ownership stakes. In addition to those three primary automakers, the Alliance also encompasses brands like Alpine and Dacia (under Renault), Datsun and Infiniti (under Nissan), and Renault Samsung Motors (in South Korea).
“The opening of this new facility is a special milestone for us. It is part of the Alliance’s growing engagement in the Israeli ecosystem, after setting-up our local innovation lab,” said Innovation Lab director Antoine Basseville. “We believe that our new facility, the Alliance partnerships with the IIA (Israel Innovation Authority), with the municipality and university of Tel Aviv, will contribute to create a comprehensive mobility ecosystem in Atidim in a wide array of fields from smart city to our technical fields.”