Turkey was introduced to its first ever local electric bus at a press conference in İstanbul on Wednesday. The latest Otokar bus, named Doruk Electra, is the product of three-and-a-half-years of research and development (R&D). The bus was originally developed to meet intra-city transportation needs and the manufacturer is expecting to sell Electra to local administrations first.
Briefing Today's Zaman on the details of the project at Wednesday's meeting, Otokar General Manager Serdar Görgüç said the company wanted to see reactions from foreign customers as well and that they will promote Electra at international fairs. “The upcoming Busworld Turkey 2012 will be the first international platform where we can introduce our bus to customers. … We are going to visit future fairs abroad. I believe potential buyers could be from the Gulf countries; there are currently serious zero-emission city planning projects in that region,” he explained. Oil-rich Abu Dhabi has plans to build two major “green metropolises” (zero-emission, clean-tech hubs), namely Dubai and Masdar City. “We are expecting to meet investors from these cities to gauge the current sentiment out there,” Görgüç added. A total of 185 local and foreign companies from Taiwan to China, the UK and Germany are participating in the Busworld exhibition, due to be held on April 19-21 in İstanbul.
The top Otokar executive said they will spend the next six months promoting the new product in the market and that they expect to attract local mass transportation firms. “It will take some time for companies and drivers to get accustomed to this latest technology but we have faith it will create a new trend across Turkey and the surrounding markets. … The rest of the world is experiencing a similar transformation,” he noted. Otokar sold the highest number of buses in Turkey between 2010 and 2011. The company exports buses to 60 countries around the world.