Indonesia pushing for EV battery, chemical investment

Indonesia is seeking to ride the EV wave by attracting investment from electric vehicle battery producers as well as those involved in the chemicals needed for the batteries, extracted from nickel ore. The target is to churn them out by 2023, according to the minister who oversees the energy and mining ministry, reported by Reuters.

“We are in coordination with GEM and CATL to build lithium battery plants in Indonesia,” Luhut Pandjaitan said, referring to Chinese battery firm GEM and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. The companies and their partners, which include stainless steel maker Tsingshan, are building Indonesia’s first plant to produce battery chemicals.

The minister said the republic is looking at Patimban in West Java as a potential area for building EV battery plants. “I asked them to work on this at the same time (with the battery chemical plants). In 2023, everything must be finished,” he said.

According to the report, GEM expects to start trial production at its Indonesian battery chemicals plant in August next year, with the first phase of operations up and running by the end of 2020. GEM and its partners are currently waiting for environmental approval to proceed further with the development of the plant. Pandjaitan said the government hopes the environmental impact studies can be finished by the end of this year.

Indonesia moved forward a ban on nickel ore exports by two years to January 2020 to process more of the country’s mining output domestically. German premium brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz recently started making plug-in hybrid batteries in Thailand.

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