Turkey will present its first domestic electric car on Saturday as part of the 99th anniversary of the Turkish Republic. The presentation will take place during the opening of a massive manufacturing plant in the Gemlik industrial center southeast of Istanbul. The electric car is built by Turkish manufacturer Automobile Initiative Group of Turkey—otherwise called Togg. It is expected to hit the road in the spring of 2023.
Earlier in August, Togg released the nation’s electric test cars straight off the lines as production samples.
According to Togg CEO Gürcan Karakas, the company expects to complete technical qualification and certification to European standards throughout the first quarter of 2023. That is when the markets will welcome the first Togg model, an electric SUV.
Furthermore, the company announced its intention to launch more models following the electric SUV. Models will have similar design, containing a blend of Western and Eastern elements. Togg has only envisioned Turkey as the launch market thus far.
Previously failed attempts to launch domestic cars
The automotive industry in Turkey has previously attempted to produce cars, such as the Anadol, domestically.
Anadol was Turkey’s first domestic passenger vehicle company. Its first model, Anadol A1 (1966–1975), was the second Turkish car after the ill-fated Devrim sedan of 1961. Anadol cars and pick-ups were manufactured by Otosan Otomobil Sanayii in Constantinople between 1966 and 1991.
The Devrim was the first ever automobile designed and produced in Turkey. On the day the first prototypes of the car were presented, President Cemal Gürsel got into the car before it was refueled for a ceremonial ride. After proceeding approximately a hundred meters, the vehicle came to a stop. The President then exited the car and got into the cream-colored prototype in the back and went to Anıtkabir.
The two cars then completed the ceremonial runs without any further issues. The newspaper headlines that followed were along the lines of “Devrim went 100 meters and it broke down.” Consequently, the car became the subject of public ridicule for years.
Devrim was never mass-produced, possibly because the cars were crafted prototypes, and the production process was not well-documented. As a result of the bad press the cars received, the remaining technical details became irrelevant. Finally, the limited demand for cars in Turkey in the 1960s made it increasingly difficult to accomplish the mass production, distribution, and maintenance of a domestic car brand.
Turkey’s first official national car plant
Turkish President Erdogan pushed industrialists to build a domestic automobile as part of his vision for turning Turkey into an independent economic powerhouse.
The vehicles of Turkey’s first official national car plant, which will open on Saturday, are being produced by a consortium of five Turkish companies. Amongst these is Togg in cooperation with the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB).
The construction of Togg’s engineering, design, and production facilities began in mid-2020 almost two years after President Erdogan unveiled the consortium, which is led by former tech-giant Bosch Executive Mehmet Gürcan Karakas.
The plant has been built on an area of 1.2 million square meters in the Gemlik industrial center in the Bursa district.
Bursa is dubbed the country’s automotive capital, as it is home to manufacturing facilities of many foreign brands, including the Turkish-French joint venture Oyak Renault and Tofas, a joint venture of the Turkish Koç Holding and Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler.
Turkey’s first electric car will charge in less than 30 minutes
Togg has collaborated with advanced lithium battery technology company Farasis for the production of its first electric car battery. The electric car is expected to reach an eighty percent charge in under thirty minutes with fast charging. It will have a range of between three to five hundred kilometers.
The track tests showed it will take the car about 7.6 seconds to accelerate from zero to one hundred kilometers per hour with two hundred horsepower and under 4.8 seconds with a 400-horsepower engine.
Togg’s SUV will be the first electric sport utility vehicle produced in continental Europe by a nontraditional manufacturer.
The company will be manufacturing five different models—SUV, sedan, C-hatchback, B-SUV, and B-MPV—through 2030. Additionally, the brand aims to produce one million vehicles by 2030.
The electric car was designed by Italy’s Pininfarina, which has created models for Ferrari and California-based electric car design company Karma.