will launch the Zeekr 001 and Zeekr X in Israel, with pre-sales expected to begin in the fourth quarter and deliveries to follow.

(Image credit: Zeekr)

's premium electric vehicle (EV) subsidiary Zeekr plans to start offering two EV models in Israel later this year, becoming the second Chinese carmaker to announce entry into the Middle Eastern country today after (NYSE: XPEV).

Zeekr has signed a deal with Israeli dealer Union Group to jointly establish a car distribution network in Israel, according to a press release from the EV maker today.

Union's automotive business unit, GEO Mobility, plans to launch the Zeekr brand in the Israeli market in the fourth quarter, and will assemble a professional management team to set up experience centers and a service system for Zeekr, according to the release.

Zeekr said it will launch two models in Israel, the Zeekr 001 shooting brake and the Zeekr X city SUV, with pre-sales expected to begin in the fourth quarter and deliveries to follow.

Zeekr is bullish on the Israeli market, and the move marks an important step in the company's global business development, said its vice president Chen Yu.

Founded in 2021, Zeekr's first model, the Zeekr 001, was launched on April 15, 2021, and deliveries began in October 2021 in China.

(Zeekr 001. Image credit: CnEVPost)

On November 1, 2022, Zeekr's second model, the Zeekr 009 MPV, was launched and its deliveries began on January 15th.

On April 12, Zeekr launched its third model, the Zeekr X. Deliveries of the Zeekr X in China began on June 12.

(Zeekr X. Image credit: CnEVPost)

Zeekr unveiled its European strategy on April 18, the first day of the Shanghai auto show, and on June 27 announced the start of pre-sales of the Zeekr 001 and Zeekr X in Europe.

The models, which start at 59,490 ($65,220) euros and 44,990 euros respectively in Europe, will go on sale first in Sweden and the Netherlands, with first deliveries expected to begin within the year.

It's worth noting that Zeekr is using a direct sales model in Europe, similar to (NYSE: NIO). In Israel, on the other hand, it has adopted a traditional dealership model.

Earlier today, Xpeng announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with one of Israel's largest automotive dealership groups, Freesbe, previously known as Carasso Motors, which will develop Xpeng's sales and service network in the Middle Eastern country.

The Middle East is another important market, after Europe and Southeast Asia, in the efforts of Chinese EV companies to expand overseas.

Prior to this year, buyers of EVs in Israel enjoyed a 10 percent purchase tax, much lower than the tax on regular gasoline cars, which can be as high as 83 percent.

Israel's EV purchase tax doubles to 20 percent starting in January 2023 and will rise to 35 percent from 2024 onwards. Nonetheless, this is still far lower than for regular gasoline cars.

Israel has its own sources of natural gas, relatively low electricity prices, and high fuel prices, which are also seen as favoring the EV market.

($1 = RMB 7.2324, $1 = 0.9122 euros)

Xpeng partners with local dealer to tap Israel market as it steps up efforts in global arena