With interest in Turkey’s first indigenous car already running high, the procedure for pre-orders will be set up soon, according to the country’s industry and technology minister.
"We’re at the stage of producing 100-150 prototypes. They will be tested, and at the beginning of 2022, the factory will start mass production," said Mustafa Varank, speaking to Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk.
Applications to buy the indigenous car once it rolls off the assembly line in Bursa, northwestern Turkey are not yet being accepted, but interest both in Turkey and abroad is high, he added.
"The first goal is to lay the groundbreaking ceremony in the first half of 2020 and begin construction of the factory," Varank said, adding very detailed work was being done in order to create a brand that reflects Turkish characteristics and is compatible with international standards.
Turkey will guarantee the purchase of 30,000 units of the landmark vehicle by 2035. The automotive purchase guarantees will be the first of their kind, he said.
He added that Turkey's Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG) had plans ready for the next 15 years.
"What investments the company will make, what models it will develop, what investments it needs, the brand strategies, are all planned. Under the plan, by the end of 2022, the first cars will be released from mass production," Varank said.
For the first time in the world, Holographic Assistant technology will be used in the vehicles, providing drivers with many advantages.
The smart assistive technology is now being developed with holographic functions that enhance interactivity between the driver and the car.
- Electric chargers at gas stations
Varank underlined that the cars will be fully charged in seven to eight hours at low cost, adding new charging infrastructure would be needed for the vehicles to be recharged in less time.
To create this infrastructure, the ministries of energy and environment and urbanization have begun working on it, he added.
''We will start integrating gas stations [with chargers] and make three to four stations mandatory in the most visited places. We are about to finish the roadmap," he said
When asked about the price of the car, Varank said: "We can't price the vehicle at the moment. This is a commercial initiative. TOGG is doing this work."
- IT Valley to impact future
Turkey should be a producer of new technologies instead of a user to be a competitor in the world, Varank stressed.
He said a technology development zone in Turkey's industrial province of Kocaeli -- the Information Technology (IT) Valley -- will house research and development efforts on 5G telecommunication, battery management and autonomous driving technologies.
Turkey can manufacture value-added products through research and development as well as innovation, Varank asserted, adding that for this, the country would require an ecosystem in which the IT Valley would play a key role.
He added that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres had also visited the valley.
Varank noted that Turkey had in 2019 provided incentives for 5,691 projects worth 137 billion Turkish liras ($24.1 billion) that are expected to create 210,000 new jobs.
He reiterated that Turkey, which established its space agency in 2018, would reveal its National Space Program in 2020.
The program will provide a roadmap and support to develop technology and improve human resources, he stressed.
- Claims regarding VW incentives
Varank denied claims that Turkey would give purchase guarantees to attract a Volkswagen factory, calling them baseless.
Last October, the German carmaker delayed its plans to build a factory in Turkey as it watches developments in the country.
The historic car, unveiled on Dec. 27 with great fanfare, was designed by TOGG in just 18 months.
The environmentally friendly electric car will have two different horsepower options -- 200 hp and 400 hp.
The car will be able to do a 0-100 km/hour sprint in 7.6 seconds and 4.8 seconds, respectively, based on the engine type.
By Aysu Bicer and Gokhan Ergocun