China’s Electric Car Promises to Use Indonesia Nickel Battery

Chery in Indonesia still uses lithium ferroposphate (LFP) batteries for the Chery Omoda E5 line-up. The Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, has specifically encouraged this manufacturer to use nickel-based batteries, which are abundant in Indonesia.

PT Chery Sales Indonesia (CSI) Assistant Vice President Zeng Shuo has considered using nickel batteries as raw materials for Chery batteries. However, the line-up that has been released at this time still uses LFP batteries.

“For the Omoda E5, we are using LFP, but in the long run, we plan to change the battery to a nickel-based battery. It’s to support the local economy and to meet our commitment to the government to achieve a 60% localization rate,” Zeng Shuo said in an interview with CNBC Indonesia, quoted Monday (19/2/2024).

However, it will take time for manufacturers to switch to nickel batteries because car manufacturing requires lengthy technological research. Therefore, there are no plans to change the raw materials of cars that have already been released, such as the Omoda E5, to use nickel. For manufacturers, it is more realistic to use the battery in the next line-up.

“I suppose maybe for the next product, perhaps the new model will be nickel-based. Well, there are a lot of batteries being produced here in the future. We have started to develop more power battery factories here. So, in the new model, we can collaborate. Will it be next year? Or this year? It might be next year, but I can’t give an accurate timeline,” he said.

Moreover, manufacturers must increase the level of domestic consumption (TKDN) from time to time. The minimum TKDN this year is still 40%, but by 2027-2029 it must increase to 60%. Therefore, manufacturers must find ways to raise their TKDN, one of which is localizing their resources.

The TKDN regulation is contained in Government Regulation Number 79 of 2023 on Amendments to Presidential Regulation Number 55 of 2019 concerning the Acceleration of the Battery-Based Electric Motor Vehicle Program for Road Transportation.

“However, one important thing is I am sure in 2026, we will have used local batteries. By then, as per the government’s rules, the localization of electric cars must reach 60%. So we are trying our best to fulfill it,” he said.

“We are working with CATL, for example. They already have plans to invest and build a factory to produce nickel-based electric batteries in Indonesia. We are already partners in China. So, for Chery Electric Cars, we have many different suppliers. Some of the main suppliers are Goshen. One is CATL and some others,” he concluded.

Image source: CNBC Indonesia / Tri Susilo

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