Is it practical to use electric cars in Turkey?

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The regulation determining the procedures and principles regarding the installation of electric vehicle charging stations and the provision of services in Turkey was published in the Official Gazette in April, and the technical specification was published in the Official Gazette last week. Electric vehicle sales are increasing in Turkey. However, it is discussed how practical the use of these tools is and whether the infrastructure is sufficient.

Energy Market Regulatory Authority (EMRA) Chairman Mustafa Yılmaz announced that the first charging network operator licenses in Turkey were granted at the end of May.

Yılmaz said that according to the end of 2021 data, there are approximately 6,500 electric vehicles and approximately 3,500 charging units. He added that by 2030, the number of electric vehicles will reach over 1 million, and that at least 100 thousand charging units will be needed.

In a statement on his Twitter account at the end of March, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “We are taking new steps by taking into account the developments in the production and use of electric cars, especially our domestic car Togg. We provide support,” he said.

THERE ARE ONLY TWO MODELS UNDER 1 MILLION TL

There is currently a fully electric car sales in Turkey and the number is increasing day by day. However BBC TurkishSpeaking to , Motor1.com Editor-in-Chief Mert Gökhan points out that these are always “Premium” models and there are only two vehicles under 1 million TL. Gökhan adds that Tesla has opened an office and it is not clear when the vehicles will be brought and sold, although it is expected soon.

The first electric car designed by Turkey’s Automobile Enterprise Group (TOGG) Industry and Trade Inc. is expected to be used by the end of the year.

Mert Gökhan states that data on electric vehicle sales in Turkey can only be obtained from the Automotive Distributors Association (ODD) or the Turkish Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Association (TEHAD) and says the following about sales:

“According to TEHAD data, only 2849 electric vehicles, ie non-hybrid vehicles, were sold in Turkey last year. According to the data of ODD, 1764 electric cars have already been sold since the beginning of this year until the end of last month.”

electric vehicle

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Answering questions from BBC Turkish, Turkish Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Association (TEHAD) founder Berkan Bayram says that sales are increasing exponentially, but electric vehicle usage and sales in Turkey are less than in European countries:

“This is not because the charging infrastructure is not developed, but because the consumer cannot reach electric cars, and the pricing is very high. In many countries in Europe, tax rates are low for electric cars. Taxes on electric cars are high in our country.”

Bayram adds that the number of electric vehicles in the European market may increase even more last year, but the damage to the supply chain caused by the Ukraine war, the chip crisis and the semiconductor problem prevent this.

BEST SELLING VEHICLE, DUE TO ITS PRICE RENAULT ZOE

Indicating that Renault ZOE is the best-selling electric vehicle in Turkey, Gökhan points out that the price of the vehicle is cheaper as the reason for this.

“There are already 17 and 18 fully electric models in total, two of which are under 1 million TL. One of them is Hyundai Kona Electric. Renault ZOE is the cheapest electric car you can buy in Turkey.”

Gökhan also adds that BMW was the brand that sold the most electric cars last year, and this may be due to the presence of more than one electric model.

OUR CHARGING NETWORK IS ENOUGH

Although there are charging stations of different energy companies in 81 provinces in Turkey, this network is not yet at a level to encourage electric vehicles. The stations are few in number and not all of them support fast charging. There are also more charging stations in metropolitan areas.

Mert Gökhan gives examples from countries where daily electric vehicle use is more common. He states that there are 75 thousand public and 180 thousand private chargers in the Netherlands, which has a much smaller area than Turkey, and this number exceeds 100 thousand in Germany.

Berkan Bayram, on the other hand, states that the charging network and infrastructure are sufficient in Turkey when viewed proportionally:

“Two electric cars are in one charging unit. It is very low in terms of quantity, of course, but it is much higher than Europe in proportion.”

IS IT PRACTICAL TO USE ELECTRIC CAR?

Stating that battery technology is not at the desired point and vehicle prices are higher because of this, Mert Gökhan says that the fastest charging takes 20 minutes (even if the fastest charging car is charged with the fastest charging device):

“It is from zero to 80 percent, not 100 percent. Renault ZOE has a range of 395 kilometers. It is also around 480 in new models. The larger the battery, of course, the longer the range, but the size of the battery also increases the weight of the vehicle and reduces performance.”

Electric vehicles can also be charged at home. Berkan Bayram emphasizes that there is no need for an extra socket for charging at home, but if the infrastructure is weak, it is necessary to change the cables. “In an average vehicle, it takes about 30 minutes on fast charge, 1 hour, 1 hour and 15 minutes on normal charge. You charge the vehicle in 6 and a half hours with slow charge,” he says.

But is it easy to repair and find parts?

“You can’t say, ‘My car broke down. It goes without saying that there are separate offices that run the business and that they work very well.

MORE PROFITABLE THAN GASOLINE

EnerjiSa, the owner of electric station operator Eşarj, reports that electric vehicles save up to 70-80% in fuel consumption:

“Considering that a passenger car travels an average of 30-40 thousand km annually and the models of electric vehicles on the market, the use of electric vehicles can save more than 10,000 TL per year in typical energy costs. When electric vehicles are charged at home, electricity is much less than the equivalent price of gasoline. It will cost some.”

Stating that the use of electric cars is less expensive due to the increase in gasoline prices, Berkan Bayram says, “When you charge from home, you can sometimes travel to very low numbers.”

USED ​​IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Electric buses are currently used in public transport in Europe. So what is the situation in Turkey?

“Currently, electric buses are used in Turkey. In Izmir, Konya, Ankara, Elazig, Malatya, electric buses are used in fleets,” said Berkan Bayram, adding:

“But the quantity is low because the initial purchase cost of the electric bus is high. While a diesel bus is around 200 thousand euros, the price of an electric bus can go up to 400 thousand euros. However, when you look at the total usage rate, the electric bus starts to pay for the difference within 3 years. But due to the high initial purchase cost. Unfortunately, municipalities do not have a chance to wait for 3-4 years.”

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