Tesla Won’t Open a Plant in Indonesia Anytime Soon: Minister

(Credit: Tesla)

Indonesian officials aren’t banking on Tesla investing in the country anytime soon, according to coordinating minister Luhut Panjaitan in a recent statement recalling a meeting with CEO Elon Musk.

Even after months of discussion surrounding battery materials and requests for a car plant in Indonesia, Panjaitan told Musk in a meeting last month that it was “no problem” if Tesla wouldn’t invest in Indonesia for the time being, as reported by Bloomberg.

In the meeting, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment said he and Musk spoke for over two hours about Tesla, later recounting the discussion at the Bloomberg CEO Forum held in Jakarta on Wednesday.

“I said, ‘Fine, we are doing okay if you cannot invest in Indonesia for a moment, no problem,” Panjaitan said during the forum.

Panjaitan also noted that Musk is worried about the current state of the global economy and the oversupply of electric vehicles (EVs), ahead of another meeting with the CEO set for this October. The upcoming meeting is regarding Starlink from Musk’s fellow company SpaceX, which Panjaitan says would offer internet access to some of the country’s most rural areas.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, commonly referred to as Jokowi, has previously stated hopes to bolster the country’s EV supply chain by attracting outside investors. The country has already made deals with Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. (CATL) for a $6 billion mining-to-batteries facility, and with Hyundai over an EV manufacturing plant.

Still, the country has yet to solidify any investments from Tesla after years of negotiation.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk (right) meets with Indonesian Prime Minister Joko Widodo. (Credit: @jokowi/Twitter)

Despite rumors over the years suggesting that Tesla could be readying to establish a vehicle manufacturing facility in the country, the most recent reports suggest that the automaker is instead looking to invest in Indonesia’s nickel supply and potentially build a battery materials plant in the country. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported that Tesla had a preliminary deal with Indonesia over a car manufacturing plant, though it hasn’t come to fruition.

The statement comes just months after Tesla launched EV sales in Malaysia, and about one month after the automaker chose the nearby country as its South Asian headquarters. The move to set up a headquarters in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, also came alongside the automaker establishing its first Tesla store in Malaysia, located in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s largest city. Tesla also said it plans to deploy a network of service centers throughout Malaysia in the coming years.

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Tesla Won’t Open a Plant in Indonesia Anytime Soon: Minister
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