Turkey Is Set To Launch Its First All-electric Vehicle
Turkish automobile manufacturer Togg will produce its first fully electric car, a midsize SUV, at its state-of-the-art, 300-acre Gemlik Campus.
Tucked into the mountains of Bursa, Turkey’s Automobile Joint Venture Group (Togg), the manufacturer of the country’s first locally made, fully electric car, is set to begin rolling its first car production as soon as this April.
“Today we are witnessing together a historic day when Turkey’s 60-year-old dream is coming true,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during the unveiling of a prototype of a domestically manufactured electric car last January.
Togg was first established in 2018 with the objective of making Turkey more independent from foreign carmakers.
Turkey has had an automobile manufacturing sector for five decades. It mostly comprises subsidiaries or partners of international carmakers such as Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Renault, and Toyota, which have helped Turkey rank No. 13 in the world for automobile production. Last year cars, trucks, motor vehicle parts, and accessories were the country’s top export, earning $25 billion in revenue for Turkey.
The man enthusiastically backing the project is none other than Erdoğan himself, and officials hailed the car’s production as history-making.
“We have dreamed of an automobile whose rights all belong to our country, produced with our designers’ and engineers’ efforts and with national technology, and which will make our name heard in the world,” said the president.
At Togg’s Gemlik Campus, located about 43 miles south of Istanbul in Bursa Province, the total number of employees reaches 1,500. The plant measures 1.2 million square meters (around 300 acres), with four main buildings occupying about 230,000 square meters, including a body shop, paint shop, general assembly, and battery assembly buildings.
The general assembly building is the largest, occupying 70,000 square meters.
One banner hanging in the 50,000-body shop production facility reads, “We are producing value.”
The facility produces 30% of its required energy from solar panels.
The two-year-old facility is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, with hundreds of robots at a 90% automation level.
The project has economic and political implications for the president in an election year, where the government is facing significant economic challenges.
The company plans to produce 1 million vehicles at Gemlik Campus in five different Euro car segments by 2030.
Its first car in the C-segment, an SUV, will launch in the first quarter of 2023. Togg aims to produce 175,000 of these midsize SUVs annually using 500 manufacturing workers. The initial target would be the production of 17,000 to 18,000 C-SUVs in 2023, with output to increase gradually subsequently.
“We are going through the final stages of preparation and making sure that our workers are up to date on working in the factory,” an official, who escorted a group of foreign journalists on a tour of Togg’s production facilities in Bursa, told The Media Line. Togg is “like no other electric car in the world,” he said, adding that the first model’s technology will be “revolutionary.”
“This car will change your lifestyle for the better,” he said.
Togg plans to sell its SUV at $5,400, which is high-priced for most people in Turkey.
“Togg will be able to integrate all of your devices that are connected to the internet and not only keep you connected but offer answers to any issue that may arise,” he said.
While Togg designs and assembles its vehicles in Turkey, it’s dependent on foreign companies for key components such as its lithium-ion battery and engine. To date, 51% of materials used to build the vehicles are Turkish-made, and company officials say their aim is to reach 70%.
But don’t expect the Togg full electric car to go international anytime soon, according to company officials.
The car has a 300-mile range on a full charge. Togg officials say they are working to expand Turkey’s limited network of EV charging stations.