Musk looks to Indonesia for battery materials . . .
Tesla has signed contracts worth approximately C$6.4 billion to buy nickel for the lithium batteries in its electric vehicles (EVs) from nickel processing companies in Indonesia. Earlier this year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Tesla founder Elon Musk to discuss investment and establishing a Tesla facility in Indonesia, which is rich in mineral resources, notably those used in EV production. Indonesia has the world’s largest nickel ore reserve, which accounts for about 37 per cent of global production. It is using this position to attract investment and become a key link in the global EV supply chain.
Indonesia to become a global EV production hub . . .
Aiming to transition gradually from fossil-fuel-based cars to electric vehicles, Indonesia has been trying to develop a nickel-based EV industry domestically. Last September, a venture between the Indonesian government and the Hyundai Consortium began construction of Southeast Asia’s first electric vehicle battery cell factory in West Java. When complete, the factory will employ 1,000 workers. Widodo said he hopes the plant will attract more investment into the sector and set the stage for Indonesia to manufacture EVs and related components in 2024. By 2025, Jakarta is aiming for EVs to make up 20 per cent of automobiles produced domestically and have two million EVs on the road.
The growing EV industry in the Asia Pacific . . .
The EV market is taking off in Southeast Asia as Chinese and South Korean EV automakers plan to start production in at least three countries this year. Chinese EV startup companies like WM Motor, Chery Automobile Co, and SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile have invested in Southeast Asia in recent years. Last year, Chinese EV manufacturer Great Wall Motor began selling a compact EV in Thailand, with the cheapest model priced at around C$29,000. Meanwhile, the Japanese conglomerate, Toyota, is also planning to sell its EVs in Thailand later this year. Japan’s powerful automobile industry is more hesitant about propelling its EV industry globally. Toyota's CEO said that electric cars are only “as clean as the electricity that powers them and the factories where they are built,” raising questions about the impact of EVs on the climate.