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Turkey’s EV production finally gets into gear

President Erdogan and his wife Emine received his Togg T10X, Turkey's first domestically-produced electric car, in April Reuters/Turkish presidency
President Erdoğan and his wife Emine received his Togg T10X, Turkey's first domestically-produced electric car, in April 2023
  • Togg plans 1m units by 2030
  • EVs 4% of Turkish car sales
  • Ambitious manufacturing plans

Turkey has long been a manufacturing base for the global auto industry, producing vehicles for more than a dozen industry giants such as Ford, Toyota and Renault.

Its transition into electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing has been slow to materialise, but the country is now making up for lost time. 

First announced in 2017, 2023 saw the launch of Turkey’s first domestically manufactured automobile – the all-electric Togg or T10X. 

EV manufacturer Togg started taking deliveries for the entry-level model of the T10X – a fully electric C-segment SUV – in April. 

Retailing at 953,000 Turkish lira (about $33,000 as of December 22), it is initially being sold with one engine type and two battery options: 52.4 or 88.5 kilowatt-hour capacities, boasting respective ranges of 314 and 523 kilometres. 

The government-owned company aims to deliver 20,000 Toggs before the end of the year and produce one million units comprising five different models – which will also include a sedan, C-hatchback, B-SUV and B-MPV – by 2030, in a clear signal of Turkey’s determination to compete in the regional EV industry race. 

Togg this month announced it will begin mass production of its sedan model in 2025 and expects to begin exports to Europe the same year. 

Growing market

Along with Togg’s launch, the entrance of Tesla to the Turkish EV market in April has led to a surge in EV sales this year. 

In 2020 the number of EVs sold in Turkey stood at about 850, before climbing to 3,000 in 2021 and 8,000 in 2022.  

Nearly 22,900 EVs were sold from January through August of this year, according to the Automotive Distributors’ and Mobility Association, a seven-fold increase compared to the same period last year. 

It equates to almost 4 percent of all car sales – bringing it very close to the 5 percent tipping point that signals the start of mass adoption in the industry. 

“The Togg launch has certainly generated some hype in terms of consumer attitude towards EVs in Turkey, and also in terms of infrastructure and charging companies looking to get involved,” said Yasemin Agirdir Aktan, co-founder at Voltify, Turkey’s first and only EV rental service. 

“I think that’s going to speed up the electrification process, but several factors have held Turkey back in recent years – an obvious one being the lack of financial and fiscal incentives compared to other countries,” she said. 

Turkey has been seeking to address this. In April this year, it announced new legislation, such as providing manufacturers a cash incentive or special consumption tax deduction on investments in research and development. 

The country has been intensifying its efforts to improve its regulatory environment in a bid to both fulfil its growing domestic demand and enhance the nation’s export capacity.

Such efforts are starting to pay off. 

Renault Group in December announced it will invest $431 million by 2027 to produce four new models in Turkey, which will be made in collaboration with the French carmaker’s local partner Oyak at their Bursa site in the north-western province of Turkey. 

Renault expects one-third of its sales in Turkey to be electric or hybrid by 2027. 

“We will make our Bursa factory the export centre not only for Europe but also for other countries worldwide,” commented Fabrice Cambolive, Renault’s CEO. 

Ambitious plans

Also of significance is the joint venture signed between Togg and Chinese EV battery maker Farasis in October 2020 to build a lithium-ion battery factory in Gemlik in the Bursa province. 

It began production in March this year and has an annual manufacturing capacity of three gigawatt hours of battery modules and packs using Farasis’ technology. 

The plan is to increase this to 20 gigawatt hours per year by 2031. 

“We started our journey by aiming to make Turkey a production hub of Europe in charging and battery technology along with electric vehicles,” Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan said at the official opening ceremony in April this year. 

However, there is still some way to go. Turkey’s EV ambitions suffered a setback in early November when LG Energy Solution, South Korea’s top battery maker, announced its planned battery plant in Turkey with Ford Motor and Turkey’s Koc had been scrapped. Koc cited concerns amid the prevailing economic slump and rising costs.

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