Indonesia says Tesla plans to invest in battery material facility

Aug 14, 2023

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia said on Monday that U.S. electric carmaker Tesla plans to invest in the manufacturing of battery materials in the Southeast Asian country and will make an announcement in the next few months.

Indonesia has for years been wooing Tesla to invest in battery making and car manufacturing in the country, trying to leverage its rich reserves of nickel, which can be processed for use in electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

Senior minister Luhut Pandjaitan in a post on Instagram said he led an Indonesian delegate that held a meeting with Tesla’s Chief Executive Elon Musk during a recent trip to San Francisco, when Musk told him about the investment plan.

“He wants to invest in the manufacturing of materials for lithium batteries,” Luhut said, though he noted Tesla was not looking to build a car factory in Indonesia.

“The investment will be quite big. Let’s wait for Elon to come here around the end of September or October this year,” he said.

Musk will also bring the internet to some remote corners of Indonesia with Starlink, his satellite communications service, Luhut said.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Starlink could not be contacted.

Indonesia said last week that it would give automakers two more years to qualify for EV incentives, trying to attract more investment as it races with Thailand and India to build an EV industry as an alternative to China, the world’s largest producer.

President Joko Widodo in an interview with Reuters in February expressed confidence that Tesla will invest in his country. However, no announcement from the car company so far has raised doubts.

(Reporting by Gayatri Suroyo and Fransiska Nangoy; Editing by Susan Fenton)


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