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Southeast Asia: Govt set to start ambitious electric car project next year

The government may appoint state-owned companies including PT Pindad and train manufacturer PT Industri Kereta Api (Inka) to take charge of the ambitious electric car project set to begin next year, a minister says.

State-Owned Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan said on Tuesday that currently, the government was producing several automotive prototypes, such as compact four-seater city cars, which were targeted to be finished in the next one or two months.

“I expect that we can start commercial production next year,” he told reporters, after speaking at a working meeting of the Indonesian Pulp and Paper Association in Jakarta. Local producers might produce around 5,000 electric cars per year, Dahlan added.

The idea of producing a national electric car came up a few months ago, when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono requested a team from prominent universities nationwide, including Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Surabaya Institute of Technology, the University of Indonesia and Gadjah Mada University, under the coordination of Education and Culture Minister Mohammad Nuh and Research and Technology Minister Gusti M. Hatta to conduct an in-depth study on a national electric car.

Last Friday, Yudhoyono along with his ministers and top government officials, heard a presentation from the team and five innovators, backed by the state-owned enterprises minister, about the feasibility of Indonesia producing electric cars on its own.

The innovators, who Dahlan dubbed as “Pandawa Putra Petir” (The Sons of Thunder), are Dasep Ahmadi, Danet Suryatama, Ravi Desai, Mario Rivaldi and a scholar whose identity has not yet been released.

Dasep, a graduate of ITB with extensive experience in manufacturing and who chairs the Indonesian Machine and Tool Industry Association, is developing three electric car prototypes in his workshop in Bogor, West Java.

Dahlan said that state-owned enterprises could engage in joint-production agreements or manufacture the cars separately.


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