Many countries, including Turkey, are rapidly moving away from fossil fuel (internal combustion engine) vehicles towards electric vehicles. Electric vehicles have many advantages over ICE (fossil fuel; gasoline, diesel, LPG) vehicles. For example, in March 2022, while paying 112 TL/100 km for an ICE vehicle (that consumes 6 liters of gasoline per 100 km), an electric vehicle of equivalent power can travel the same distance with 27 TL/ 100 km when charged with household electricity in Turkey.
While there are 20 moving parts in an electric vehicle’s motor, this number is 2,000 in a ICE vehicle’s engine. In this way, electric vehicles require much less maintenance. In terms of driving pleasure, electric vehicles are quite satisfactory; they are superior to fossil fuel vehicles with rapid acceleration, quiet driving, and fast response times.
However, the main reason for such a rapid transition to electric vehicles is none of these. The main reason is that the greenhouse gas caused by fossil fuel vehicles lead to global climate change. Today, we all know that if global warming is not stopped or not slowed down to the desired level, the world will come to a point of no return due to climate change. Studies show that the most greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy sector. Next comes the transportation industry. The transportation sector is responsible for 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Turkey and the EU countries as well.
All countries under the auspices of the United Nations, except for 6 countries, accepted the Paris Agreement (COP21) and announced their greenhouse gas emission commitments. Industrialized countries state more ambitious commitments than the rest because they are the main polluters. For example, in line with its commitments in the Paris agreement, the European Union has committed to being carbon neutral in 2050. (Balancing the greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere with the greenhouse gas absorbed from the atmosphere is called carbon neutral or carbon zero). To achieve this goal, the “Green Consensus” roadmap was published in December 2019 and the “fit for 55” law package was announced in July 2021, which includes concrete reduction commitments (55% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 compared to 1990). According to this package, the EU aims to completely stop producing cars or vans using fossil fuels by the year 2035 at the latest.
Until last October, Turkey was one of the few countries along with 6 other ones that were not a party to the Paris agreement. This situation weakened Turkey's hand in international climate negotiations, isolating it and forcing it to monitor developments from the outside. However, 2021 has been a year of serious transformation for Turkey. In July 2021 Turkey's green consensus roadmap was announced similar to that of the EU. In October 2021, the Paris Agreement was ratified in the Turkish Parliament. Turkey joined Glasgow (COP26) in November 2021 as a party to the Paris agreement. Turkey became a party to and committed to 4 international agreements in Glasgow. Three of these agreements are directly or indirectly related to transportation. However, one is quite important; More than 100 countries and automobile manufacturers, including Turkey, have committed to fossil-fuel-free sales of all new cars and vans in leading markets by 2035 at the latest, and all over the world by 2040. At the same time, Turkey announced its goal of being “carbon neutral” by 2053 which is quite heroic.
Considering all these agreements, commitments, and preparations, we can say that 2021 was a year of turning points for Turkey. We will observe radical changes in almost all sectors, from agriculture to energy production, from buildings to industrial establishments from now on. Until the beginning of 2021, the total number of electric vehicles sold in Turkey so far was around 3,000, and within 2022 3,000 more electric vehicles were sold. When we come to 2030 after only 8 years, it is predicted that Turkey will reach 1,000,000 electric vehicle sales yearly. In the next following 10 years, especially Green Hydrogen (Hydrogen produced using renewable energy) will be used intensively. Transition to hydrogen vehicles will begin in long-distance passenger and freight transport by road, airline, and seaways. Hydrogen vehicles used or to be used on the road are still electric vehicles. They convert hydrogen into electricity with a fuel cell and drive with an electric motor.
Although 2021 was a switching year for Turkey, we will see real changes at following decades. Our connection to climate change is not just about laws or commitments, but we are at the beginning of a major transformation that will have social, economic, and environmental consequences.
Author: Haluk Sayar / Founder Board Member -Vice President, AVERE Turkey E-mobility Association