Indonesian President Joko Widodo met with Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk on Saturday in Texas to discuss potential investments and technology, the Indonesian government said in a statement.
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The meeting between Musk and Widodo, better known as Jokowi, followed a round of work-level discussions about potential investment in Indonesia’s nickel industry and supply of batteries for electric vehicles, Indonesian officials told Reuters.
Tesla representatives were in Indonesia last week for meetings about a potential battery-related investment, Indonesian officials and two people familiar with the talks said.
Tesla had no immediate comment.
Indonesia has for years been trying to secure a deal with Tesla over investment in batteries and potentially for Musk’s SpaceX aerospace company.
Jokowi traveled from Washington, where he attended an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders meeting, to meet with Musk at the SpaceX launch site in Boca Chica, Texas. He invited the billionaire to visit Indonesia in November.
Jokowi will host a Group of 20 major economies summit in Bali in November. “Hopefully in November,” the Indonesian government quoted Musk as saying.
Musk said there may be room for “partnerships on many things, because Indonesia has so much potential,” the statement said.
Indonesia has the largest nickel reserves in the world, and Jokowi is keen to develop a nickel-based EV industry at home – from nickel metal manufacturing to battery component production and electric vehicle assembly. In the past, he has also asked Musk to consider a rocket launch site in Indonesia.
Two deals last month gave new impetus to Jokowi’s effort to develop an EV-related industry at a time when global automakers are struggling to secure supplies of battery materials and reduce their dependence on China.
A consortium led by South Korea’s LG Energy Solution Ltd, the world’s second-largest maker of batteries for electric vehicles, announced plans last month to invest $9 billion in Indonesia as part of a deal that ranges from refining nickel to producing battery cells in Indonesia.
LG’s biggest rival, Tesla’s China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology, announced a $9 billion investment in Indonesia in April.
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