Tesla’s Indonesian Connection — What’s Going On?

While Elon Musk's meetings with Indonesian officials and President Widodo have been publicly announced, the real plans for the country are still a well-kept secret

Enrique Llanes


Traffic jam in Jakarta (in the picture: Mangga Dua street, in West Jakarta)
Mangga Dua street, in West Jakarta (Indonesia) / CC AttributionAenertia

On May 14th, Elon Musk met Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo at the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica (Texas). The first public meeting between the head of Tesla and the head of the Indonesian government was a very friendly encounter to talk about technology and innovation. Further declarations were unleashed in which Indonesia’s President said that Tesla’s team was moving very fast and that they had already visited several nickel processing plants in the country. Also announced that Elon Musk would be in Indonesia later this year, in November.

The interest in this country comes after Tesla had to leave India supposedly because they couldn’t reach an agreement regarding import tariffs.

A new battery and vehicle plant

According to Indonesia’s Head of Investment, Tesla has agreed to build a new battery and electric vehicle factory in the country. Local media “Benar News” reported:

Tesla agreed to build a battery and electric vehicle plant at an industrial complex in Central Java province, following stateside talks last weekend between President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Tesla chief Elon Musk, Investment Minister Bahlil Lahadalia said on Wednesday.

“God willing, Tesla will enter Indonesia this year,” Bahlil told a discussion in Jakarta.

“But I can’t announce the month yet. Let’s wait, because we haven’t signed an agreement yet. How much investment is still being kept secret, still waiting. But this is good stuff, big stuff,” he said.

This is aligned with Musk’s words that Tesla would announce the locations of new factories by the end of this year.

Indonesia has restrictive laws mandating that nickel extracted in the country has to be processed locally and not just exported. If the cells can also be manufactured there, it would be a plus for the local economy which bears the largest known nickel reserves on Earth.



Enrique Llanes

4X Top Writer // Tesla fan. Technology enthusiast. AI will change the world. Madrid.