Indonesia close to EV deals with BYD Group and Tesla – minister

JAKARTA, Jan 17 (Reuters) – Indonesia is finalising agreements with China’s automaker BYD Group and U.S. carmaker Tesla (TSLA.O) to invest in electric vehicle (EV) production facilities in the Southeast Asian country, a senior cabinet minister said on Tuesday.

Indonesia is aggressively promoting investment into batteries and EVs at home to take advantage of its rich nickel resources. Once a major nickel ore exporter, it has banned exports to ensure enough raw materials for investors.

“All the biggest (electric) car makers in the world will invest here. BYD Group, the number one in the world, Tesla, the number two, Hyundai and so on, they are all finalising deals with Indonesia,” coordinating minister Luhut Pandjaitan said in a meeting with provincial governments.

He did not disclose further details at the meeting.

BYD Group and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

South Korean carmaker Hyundai (005380.KS) launched its plant in Indonesia in March last year to produce the country’s first locally assembled EV.

SGMW Motor Indonesia, part of a joint venture of SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, General Motors Co (GM.N) and Wuling Motors Holdings (0305.HK), has built assembly facilities in Indonesia.

Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Bernadette Christina Munthe; Editing by Martin Petty