Turkey produces first batteries for electric SUVs

Electric SUV by Togg

The production of the batteries for the Turkish electric vehicle has already started.

(Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Istanbul Turkey is pushing ahead with the mass production of a domestic electric car step by step. After test production of the Togg brand electric SUV, a Turkish-Chinese consortium announced that it had produced the first battery for the Stromer. Series production of batteries and cars is scheduled to begin in Turkey in early 2023 – rapid export to Germany is also on the agenda.

Siro, a joint venture between Togg and the Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis, manufactures the batteries in Gebze, east of Istanbul. “The first battery successfully passed all tests,” the company confirmed to the Handelsblatt.

In the company’s own development center, the batteries are now being tested for various applications “with a special focus on electric vehicles”. Mass production is scheduled to begin in early 2023 – exactly when the first Togg vehicles are also to be produced.

According to the company, the Turkish electric car has a maximum range of 300 to 500 kilometers, depending on the battery. In the base model, the two battery types drive a 203 hp (149 kW) motor that accelerates the car from zero to 100 km/h in 7.6 seconds. There will also be a 404 hp (297 kW) variant with all-wheel drive.

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The production of efficient and inexpensive batteries for electric cars is one of the decisive factors for the transition from combustion engines to more environmentally friendly electric vehicles. The Volkswagen Group started building a battery factory in Salzgitter in July, and the first batteries are to be produced in three years. Tesla is also building such a factory in Grünheide near Berlin.

The world’s largest manufacturer of battery cells, the Chinese company CATL, has been building a production facility for the car drive of the future in Thuringia since 2019. Production is scheduled to begin at the end of this year.

The Turkish-Chinese consortium Siro is thus in the middle of a race for near-factory battery production. Preparations are also in full swing at Togg himself. The first test cars rolled off the assembly line, confirmed company boss Gürcan Karakas to the Handelsblatt. During the so-called manufacturing try-out, the operating processes of the newly built factory near Istanbul are imported.

Electric car production: Turkey offers location advantages

“By the beginning of November we will have perfected the processes and then freeze them in this form,” Karakas recently told the Handelsblatt. “Then we will have our production facility ready for series production.” The electric SUV is to be launched at the end of the first quarter of next year, after completion of the technical qualification and certification tests with a view to European standards.

Turkey offers some locational advantages that could help the country in future electric car production. Labor costs in the country are lower than in Europe and sometimes even in China. In addition, the country is closer to large sales markets such as Europe or the Arabian Peninsula.

And above all in the northwest of Turkey there are already several clusters for car production. Car parts that also have to be installed in electric vehicles, such as seats or windscreen wipers, have been produced in Turkey for years and are made near the Togg plant.

In Germany, subsidies for electric cars will expire next year at the latest. From then on, all providers will have to assert themselves using the real market prices. A difficult environment for the premium manufacturers – and perhaps a good chance of entry for cheap competitors who have already identified Germany as an important market. Now Togg has to convince the last doubters that the vehicle can actually be mass-produced.

More: No chance for Amazon – Why Turkey is breeding its own tech companies

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