Indonesian President Joko Widodo met Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk in Texas to discuss potential investments and technology, Indonesia’s government said. The meeting between Musk and Widodo, better known as Jokowi, came after a round of working-level discussions on a potential investment in Indonesia’s nickel industry and supply of batteries for electric vehicles, Indonesian officials told.
Representatives from Tesla were in Indonesia for meetings regarding a potential battery-related investment, Indonesian officials said. Indonesia for years has been trying to secure a deal with Tesla on battery investment and potentially for Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company. Jokowi traveled from Washington, where he attended a meeting of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to meet Musk at the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica, Texas.
Jokowi is to host a summit of the Group of 20 big economies in Bali. Musk said there could be room for partnerships in many things, because Indonesia has a lot of potential. Indonesia has the world’s biggest nickel reserves, and Jokowi is keen to develop a nickel-based EV industry at home from making nickel metal, to producing battery components and assembling electric vehicles. Two deals over the past month have given new momentum to Jokowi’s push. This is to develop an EV-related industry at a time when global automakers have been scrambling to secure supplies of battery materials.
A consortium led by South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd, the global No. 2 maker of EV batteries, announced plans last month to invest $9 billion in Indonesia. LG’s larger rival, China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology, a Tesla supplier, announced a $9-billion Indonesia investment.