Tesla to build battery factory in Indonesia
Tesla is planning to build a factory in Indonesia to produce battery materials, according to a senior politician. An announcement is expected to be made in the coming months. However, there will probably not be a Tesla vehicle plant in the country for the time being.
Luhut Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s coordinating minister for investment affairs, said in a social media post that Tesla plans to “invest in the production of materials for lithium batteries” and will make an announcement in the coming months. “The investment will be quite large. Let’s wait until Elon comes here in late September or October this year,” Luhut Pandjaitan said. Tesla, however, does not plan to build a car factory in Indonesia, as has been rumoured recently.
What kind of battery materials Tesla wants to produce in the planned Indonesian factory is not clear from the post. Since Indonesia has large nickel deposits and is building an eMobility industry on this basis – from mining the raw materials to processing them to producing entire batteries and electric vehicles. As a result, the country has been courting investment from industry giants, including Tesla, for several years.
Luhut was apparently the head of an Indonesian delegation that recently made a trip to San Francisco. This apparently included a meeting with Musk. The minister also indicated that Musk would also provide internet to some remote regions of Indonesia with his satellite communication service Starlink. However, neither Tesla nor Starlink responded to a Reuters request for comment.
While other carmakers and battery manufacturers had already announced investments in Indonesia, Tesla has yet to make an announcement of its own. It was only in February that Indonesian President Joko Widodo expressed confidence in a Reuters interview that Tesla would invest in the country. Since there had already been reports that Tesla was close to a deal, an announcement was expected soon, at the latest after the president’s interview statements. But nothing happened – until Minister Luhut’s statements.
Tesla is currently building its own lithium refinery in Texas. Having its own facility to process nickel-bearing precursor materials would complement its strategy of investing more deeply in its own battery supply chain.