Experts say the country has the potential to be both a big market and a hub of the electric car industry.
As many nations are transitioning towards green energy in order to build environment-friendly cities, the automotive industry has also shifted gears to embrace renewable energy resources.
In 2020, three million electric cars were sold in the world, a 43 percent hike amid the harsh market conditions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The presence of electric-fired engines, which emit fewer carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels, have been increasing on the roads at a steady rate in the past 10 years.
In Europe, sales of electric cars have seen a major increase, surpassing China as the world’s biggest market for automobiles, according to recently published numbers.
On the other hand, when it comes to Turkey, where firms like Ford, Fiat Chrysler, Renault, Toyota and Hyundai have supply lines to export cars to Europe, the number of locally made hybrid cars has increased by 150 percent compared to 2020.
In 2011, there were only 47 such vehicles registered in Turkey. Five years later, the number increased by a thousand for the first time and rose to around 15,000 in 2019. The number of registered electric and hybrid cars was 17,749 in February 2020 - it reached 36,487 by the end of the year. By February 2021, Turkey added 44,291 cars, a 150 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
According to Global Energy Center Deputy Director for Climate and Advanced Energy of Atlantic Council, David Livingston, Turkey shows real growth potential for the electric vehicle market with its first all-electric, locally produced vehicle.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency last year, Livingston said the introduction of Turkey's first, domestic all-electric vehicle is a clear signal that electrification of the transport sector is a "strategic priority" for the country.
On March 25 this year, Turkey’s Industry and Technology Minister, Mustafa Varank said that Turkey’s electric vehicle project with Turkey's Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG) will be produced at the end of next year.
It will be the first electric vehicle to be domestically produced in Turkey, having been introduced in December 2019.
Five industrial giants: the Anadolu Group, BMC, Kok Group, Turkcell and Zorlu Holding as well as an umbrella organisation, the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey, joined forces to form Turkey’s Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG) in June 2018.
By 2030, TOGG will produce and own the intellectual and property rights of five different models -- SUV, sedan, c-hatchback, b-SUV and b-MPV. The vehicle-manufacturing factory, which is anticipated to cost 22 billion Turkish liras ($3.7 billion), will employ more than 4,300 staff including 300 qualified personnel.
TOGG’s engineers are responsible for the entire design of all original and patented electric vehicle platforms for all five models.
In addition to that, most recently, as a second of its kind in Turkey after TOGG, another investment in the electric vehicle production facility was announced.
As per the recent development, Ford Otosan, which is a joint venture between Koc Holding and US-based automotive giant Ford, will be making a 2 billion-euro (nearly $2.4 billion) investment to manufacture new-generation commercial vehicles and batteries at its factory in Turkey.
Previously, the automotive giant announced that its entire commercial vehicle lineup would offer all-electric or plug-in hybrid versions by 2024. The company added that it expects two-thirds of its commercial vehicle sales in Europe to be all-electric or plug-in hybrid by 2030.
Commenting on the issue, Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the investment of the Ford Otosan.
"Turkey will become the largest production center of commercial electric and integrated vehicles in the future of the automotive industry," the president said.
As the country exported more than 900,000 vehicles to 180 countries across five continents last year, the Turkish president added, "This momentum we achieved in 2020 enabled us to make a strong start to 2021."
In the past few weeks, reports from several international media outlets from different European countries, such as Germany, emerged saying that in the future, Turkey’s TOGG will one day challenge Tesla and Volkswagen.