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Turkey’s EV based on Saab 9-3 better than Tesla’s car, claims minister

Turkish domestic car based on Saab 9-3 EVTurkish domestic car based on Saab 9-3 EV

Turkish Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Işıkhas said Turkey’s extended range electric car project based on Saab 9-3 platform will be better than Tesla’s model, as it will have an integrated charging station.

While Tesla needs to launch charging stations, we will put the charging station into the car thanks to a range-extending engine. Besides, our vehicles will be safer than Tesla’s due to the structure of our software,” he said in an interview, during which he elaborated on the details of Turkey’s indigenous electric car project, which was developed in cooperation with the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

“We are happy with our electric car technologies choice after an emission scandal in Volkswagen. It is a huge development for the world to see over 400,000 preorders for Tesla’s new electric car in just a week before the vehicle has even reached the market. The Tesla example accelerated our process as well,” he said, adding that electric and even driverless cars will dominate the global automotive sector in the future and noting that Tesla did what the giants could not.

Minister Fikri Isik in saab-prototype of future domestic car
Minister Fikri Isik in Saab-prototype of future domestic car

He also said Turkey would develop crucial technologies in line with the project.

“One of the world’s largest battery manufacturers offered us to make production jointly. We have already built cooperation with Bosch in the framework of our car project… We want to produce the range extender conventional engine in Turkey by the end of 2018 with having the intellectual property rights of the technology. We are also in talks with several companies for further cooperation. The two-cylindrical gasoline-powered engine with a 1 liter capacity, which will also serve as a generator, will work with high productivity at around 35 percent,” noted Işık.

Meanwhile, TÜBİTAK has been working on a domestic automobile based on the Saab 9-3 Platform. Turkey acquired a license from carmaker NEVS for 40 million euros to produce a developed car over the platform. Işık noted TÜBİTAK would compete with global giants like Google and Tesla with its domestic car project.

Saab 9-3 from Turkey
Electric Saab 9-3 from Turkey

Partner needed for manufacturing

“TÜBİTAK will develop the required technologies and the prototype. We will need a producer to start manufacturing. We will announce crucial cooperation deals for this part very soon,” he added. Upon a question on whether Fiat was among the interested companies, Işık answered, “Yes.”

“Our priority may be a local consortium, but we are open to all offers… TÜBİTAK will offer a license for the production of the model. It will thus create funds for new projects,” he said. Işık also noted a number of leading Turkish designers, including Uğur Şahin and Uğur İpek, and Italian and Swedish companies were involved in designing the vehicle. Representatives from TÜBİTAK said they were also working on a driverless car project.