The MAB electric bus on display at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Commercial Vehicle Expo in Jakarta on Saturday (03/03). (JG Photo/Amal Ganesha)

Local Bus Maker MAB Targets Public Transportation With Electric Offering


MARCH 04, 2018

Jakarta. Jakarta-based Mobil Anak Bangsa, which belongs to former Indonesian Military chief Moeldoko, is currently in talks with key transportation industry players to supply them with electric buses.

The company has since its founding last year been setting its sights on capturing a niche in the market with its locally designed MAB electric bus, currently produced in Magelang, Central Java. The company said it is also preparing to establish another production facility in Subang, West Java.

"We've received some commitments for orders from key players, such as [state-owned airport operator] Angkasa Pura and [bus transportation service provider] Pahala Kencana. It means that when we are ready to proceed to the mass-production phase, they are committed to buy some buses," MAB president director Leonard told the Jakarta Globe during the Gaikindo Indonesia International Commercial Vehicle Expo in Jakarta on Saturday (03/03).

He said electric buses have a lot of potential because they are not only environmentally friendly, but also significantly more energy efficient compared with conventional buses.

"Electric buses are very cheap to operate in terms of energy requirements. It costs a third less than buses running on fossil fuel," he said, adding that energy costs only amount to Rp 800 (less than 6 US cents) per kilometer.

"The only issue when speaking about production is that we cannot currently produce the batteries locally. But once we acquire that capability, it would be a big advantage," he added.

Leonard named China, Japan and Germany as the countries with the most expertise currently in the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

MAB specifically eyes the mass-transportation sector, but the company is considering agricultural vehicles.

"We are also designing vehicles for farmers, such as pickup trucks," Leonard said. "And for buses, we'll see where the demand is and either focus on interprovincial, or city buses. All possibilities will be considered."

When asked about the company’s biggest prospective customers, Leonard said the deal with Angkasa Pura appears to be the most lucrative.

"Even though we've also signed an agreement with Pahala Kencana, the deal with Angkasa Pura is imminent," he said. "At first, we'll only supply a small number of buses, but this will be increased gradually if they are satisfied with our products."

Leonard said the buses will be used to transport people between terminals at airports operated by Angkasa Pura, such as Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, which will be first to use MAB buses.

The company is currently in a process to obtain quality certification for the buses from the Ministry of Transportation.