Otokar mulls making of domestic ‘electric tank’

Otokar mulls making of domestic ‘electric tank’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Otokar mulls making of domestic ‘electric tank’

Doruk, electric-engine bus developed by Otokar, is seen during charging in this company photo. The producer firm says electric engines are adaptable to battle tanks.

Otokar, a Turkish automotive manufacturer specializing in commercial and military vehicles, has signaled plans to move into the production of electric tanks.

“We are thinking about producing electric tanks. This may play a significant role in the defense industry tactically in addition to being environmentally friendly,” said Otokar General Manager Serdar Görgüç, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday.

Otokar, a Koç Holding company, manufactured Turkey’s first electric bus, Doruk Electra, launching it last week. Görgüç said Otokar made a $1 million investment in the last five years to develop the electric bus.

“Vehicles with internal combustion can be caught on thermal cameras. [The emergence of] electric vehicles now indicates the path land transportation will take. We can apply the know-how we have obtained [during developing] buses with electric motors to tanks supplied with electric motors. Our next step after the Altay, the first domestically developed tank, may be defense vehicles supplied with electric motors,” he said.

Armored vehicles designed by Otokar are used by more than 40 institutions, including the Turkish Armed Forces, in 20 countries on five continents, he said.

The vehicle manufacturer has been following a sustainable growth path by growing 26 percent annually between 2002 and 2011, he said, noting that the share of research and development in the firm’s annual turnover was 4 percent.

“We have made $76 million in research and development expenditures in the last 10 years,” Görgüç said.

Urban transportation

Inner-city transportation will change dimensions in the next 15 years, said Görgüç.

“According to United Nations data, nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. This will increase the quest for alternative solutions to transportation and the need for mass transportation,” he said.

There are plans to establish zero-emission zones in large European cities like Cologne, London and Rome by 2050, he said, adding that this move would encourage and increase the number of electric vehicles that run on clean energy and which are environmentally friendly.

The domestic contribution in the production of the Doruk Electra is 67 percent, said Görgüç.

“The Doruk Electra can be fully recharged in six to eight hours. It can also recharge while waiting during short periods of time at bus stations thanks to its onboard recharging unit. The bus covers 280 kilometers in ideal conditions,” he said in a company press release.

Otokar has been working on developing buses that run on alternative fuels. The company developed Turkey’s first hybrid bus, the Doruk Hibra, in 2007 and the Doruk DG, Turkey’s first midsized bus, in 2009, the press release said.