Through one of the credible news sites in Indonesia, detik.com, it is said that the Minister of Investment/Chairman of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board, Bahlil Lahadalia, mentioned during the “Road to G20: Investment Forum” at Hotel Alila, Solo, Tesla is planning to build its next factory in Indonesia.
This, if realised, means that Indonesia will be the 4th country with a Tesla Gigafactory – after United States, China (Shanghai), and Germany (Berlin).
The new factory, like others, will produce many things including Tesla cars and lithium-ion batteries that are powering the Tesla cars. According to Bahlil Lahadalia, the factory will be located in an area called Batang, in Central Java.
However, there is no official statement from Tesla yet and obviously, it seems that no contracts have been signed yet. The minister himself even mentioned the word “hopefully” – so it looks like there is a plan to do so, but it hasn’t been finalised yet.
It’s possible that this idea or plan was discussed during the meet up between the Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Elon Musk, among other things.
Indonesia has the largest nickel reserve in the world, a raw material needed to make batteries and at the moment, Tesla’s main nickel supplier comes from Brazil. However, Indonesia bans raw material exports, including nickel, so Tesla can’t just import these materials to be used for their batteries production.
The only way is to make a direct deal with Indonesia by building the factory right in the country. While there had been a negotiation in the past, it didn’t go through successfully – until the Indonesian President met with Elon earlier this week. If you watched the short interview with Elon, we could even hear Elon mentioning that “the future of Indonesia is very bright” – which is a hint that something good is coming out of the meeting.
We’ll have to wait to see whether Tesla really builds their 4th Gigafactory in Indonesia this year as the minister mentioned he’s hoping that it’d start some time this year.