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Erdogan drove Turkey’s first electric car, elections are near

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After driving Turkey’s first electric car, Erdogan promised to build a factory for lithium-ion batteries

lest there be any confusion that political populism thrives only on home soil, Recep Tayyip Erdogan used Turkey’s national holiday to give widespread publicity to Turkey’s first manufactured electric car.

The president drove the first model, then commented: They [the Europeans] will say: the “mad Turks” are coming.”

Erdogan announced that the country had signed a contract with one of the world’s best-known lithium-ion battery manufacturers to build a plant next to the Togg production lines outside Bursa, without naming the company.

Sales of Togg’s first model, a C-segment SUV, should begin at the end of the third quarter of 2023. The plan is for the first Turkish electric vehicle to enter the European market after 15-18 months of being sold only in Turkey.

The production capacity we currently have is 100,000 cars per year,” said Gyurkan Karakash, Executive Director of the joint venture.

The initial goal is to make 17-18,000 cars next year. The price of the model has not been determined, it is expected to happen in February.

The ruling party wants to show “muscle” ahead of elections next June to show it can deal with the deepening economic crisis and rising inflation.

The state supported projects with tax cuts, free land, low loan rates and a guaranteed state order of 30,000 cars a year until the end of 2025.

The Togg is not Turkey’s first attempt at a national car. In 1961, Turkish engineers made four Devrim cars, which were also presented during Republic Day. Then the president also attended the ceremony, but the cars remained in the prototype phase.

The new electric car has been under development since 2018, when ANADOLU Grubu, BMC, Turkcell and Vestel Electronik created Togg with 23% each in the joint venture, the remaining shares are held by business lobbies. The company plans for four more models after this SUV-C model.

The Pininfarina-designed Togg will be made from 65% locally produced parts by 2025, the company announced (previously the figure was 51%). Plans are to achieve an annual capacity of 1 million cars by 2030, and the project will inject $50 billion into the Turkish economy over the next 15 years.

Ergodan’s opposition called the project a “political show”.

Article source: bloomberg.com

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