Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, right, shakes hands with Indonesian businessman Anindya Bakrie, right, as he meets the Indonesian delegation led by Coordinating Minister for the Economic Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, center, at the Tesla factory in Austin Texas on Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Anindya Bakrie)

Indonesia's Tesla Dream Kept Alive After Senior Minister Meets Elon Musk


APRIL 26, 2022

Jakarta. Coordinating Minister for the Economic Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan has met Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday to discuss the possibility for the American electric car giant to take part in the nickel and electric battery industry in Indonesia.

In the meeting, Luhut and Musk were joined by several prominent Indonesian businessmen, including Anindya Bakrie, the advisory council chairman of the Indonesia Chamber of Trade and Industry (Kadin). Anindya is a scion of the Bakrie conglomerate with interests spanning from mining and media to electric buses.


Also present at the meeting, was Luhut's nephew Pandu Sjahrir, a director at coal miner Toba Bara Sejahtera and president commissioner of internet company Sea Group Indonesia. The Indonesian Ambassador for the United States, Rosan Roeslani, accompanied the Indonesian delegation to the meeting. 

"It was an auspicious day for me to meet Elon Musk in Austin, Texas," Pandu said in an Instagram post on Tuesday. 

"We are a delegation led by Luhut Pandjaitan talking about electric vehicles, renewable energy, and B20," Pandu said. He was referring to an outreach business group of the G20. 

"Elon is very enthusiastic about discussing Indonesia and the progress of Indonesia's nickel and electric vehicle industries. Hopefully, this meeting can bring more high technology investments to Indonesia, and Indonesia can become an important part of the global electric vehicle industry supply chain," he said. 

The country is eager to leverage its nickel reserve, the largest globally, to establish a world-class car battery manufacturing industry and place itself as a critical player in the electric vehicles supply chain. 

Indonesia has been in contact with the world's largest carmaker company by market capitalization for two years to establish a car battery plant and energy storage system.

But it was a Chinese corporation, Ningbo Contemporary Brunp Lygend (CBL), and a South Korean company LG Energy Solution that took the first step to build the battery factory here. 

Tesla's deal had been put on the back burner as the company was too demanding and refused to meet Indonesia's terms, Luhut told local media last month, casting doubt about Tesla's investment in Indonesia. 

Firm Invitations

Still, it seems that both parties are willing to start over with the discussion. Anindya said Indonesia's delegation sought to convince Musk to bring investment to Indonesia's electric battery industry. 

"Our goal is to convince Tesla to explore cooperation with Indonesia regarding the nickel supply and processing to make battery cells based on good and sustainable environment, social, and governance," Aninditya said in an Instagram post. 

Anindya also said that the delegation presented Indonesia's G20 and B20 agenda. This year, the country is chairing G20 and will host the G20 Summit in Bali in November. 

"On this auspicious occasion, we also present the G20/B20 program, including inviting him to join the International Advisory Caucus B20 and attend the B20 event in mid-November," Anindya said.