Erdogan’s electric car Togg: Ex-Bosch manager tinkering with the Turkish Tesla

picture alliance / Rasid Necati Aslim

Six corporations have teamed up in Turkey to move into the top league of electric car production. They want to invest around 3.3 billion. 220 engineers are working on the Togg project. At their head: Gürcan Karakas, who previously worked at Bosch. “Nobody expects an electric car from Turkey,” he says in an interview with the “Handelsblatt”.

That is why he wants to exceed expectations and be competitive on the global market from the start. In Turkey, sales of e-cars rose by 104 percent. The Togg should also be available in Germany.

Ferdinand Dudenhöffer from the Motion Automobile Institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen told Handelsblatt that the high investment volume of 3.3 billion would be enough for a successful start, but that someone like Tesla founder Elon Musk would need to arouse customer interest. He misses the “wow factor”.

CEO Karakas is optimistic

CEO Karakas, on the other hand, is optimistic, as the Handelsblatt writes. At the age of 38, the automotive supplier Bosch, for whom he had previously worked, appointed him head of the country. He then took on responsibility for the wholesale business. At the age of only 45, he is on the third highest career level. Karakas has had such a rapid career that the “Handelsblatt” in 2011 named him the “Manager of Tomorrow”.

Karakas is now in charge of Togg. Until 2022, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued the motto of building an electrically powered car. A Togg consortium was formed from the automotive company Anadolu, the electrical company Zorlu, the commercial vehicle manufacturer BMC, the telecommunications service provider Turkcell, the construction company Kök and the Turkish Chamber of Commerce Tobb.

Two shaped side lines represent Orient and Occident

According to the Handelsbaltt, the prototype is similar to the Ford Edge or the Grand Cherokee model from the Jeep brand. Orient and Occident are intended to demonstrate two differently shaped side lines. The cockpit has four screens. At least partially, the Togg should be able to drive autonomously. Karakas emphasizes in the Handelsblatt that three quarters of the suppliers and service providers come from Turkey.

The e-car should be able to travel up to 500 kilometers without having to charge the battery. This is then ready for use again after 30 minutes at the charging station. The output of the Togg is 203 to 406 hp, which means the car accelerates from zero to one hundred in 4.8 seconds.

“We don’t just build a car, we build a smart device,” Karakas says in the Handelsblatt. He criticizes the fact that the established car manufacturers simply equip their combustion cars with an electric motor. “We work with app developers at eye level right from the start.” Thanks to the telecommunications service provider Turkcell, Togg has a good technological infrastructure – for which the competition has to spend a lot of money.

There will be five series: a minivan, a compact car, a sedan and two SUVs. The company plans to produce 175,000 vehicles per year. At some point Togg also wants to sell its vehicles abroad – Germany could be an important market.


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