Saab 9-3-based development mules for Turkish national car projectEnlarge Photo
Turkey is working on a national car, one powered by an extended-range electric drivetrain.
The development is led by Turkey’s Scientific and Technical Research Council (TÜBİTAK), and the country’s Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Isik is so (over)confident of the project he’s out boasting that it will be better than a Tesla.
“Our car will be better and safer than Tesla’s car,” Isik told Hurriyet Daily News. “While they need to establish charging stations, we will integrate the charging station into the car thanks to a developed engine which extends the car’s range.”
Without going into detail, Isik said the car would be safer than a Tesla “due to the structure” of its software.
Former Saab 9-3 platform licensed
Few specs are known but we can confirm the car will rely on a 1.0-liter 2-cylinder gasoline engine to extend its range. A similar setup is found in BMW’s i3 REx extended-range electric car.
TÜBİTAK is seeking outside help for the project and has already licensed some technology from National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), which owns the assets of bankrupt automaker Saab. One of the technologies is the aging platform that underpins the former Saab 9-3.
The research hub is also seeking partners for manufacturing, not only for the car but also batteries and engines, and according to Isik there are negotiations taking place with industry giants such as Bosch and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles [NYSE:FCAU]. Isik said TÜBİTAK is also working on autonomous car technology.
Interestingly, one of the people involved is said to be Turkish car designer Ugur Sahin, whose past projects have featured on Motor Authority.