Last month, it was reported that Chinese battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) would be investing US$5.1 billion (RM20.6 billion) to set up a facility to manufacture electric vehicle (EV) batteries in Indonesia, with the groundbreaking for the new facility to commence next year.

Now, the production timeline has been revealed. According to a Reuters report, the new lithium battery plant will start production in 2024. The date was mentioned by Septian Hario Seto, deputy minister of the ministry of maritime and investment affairs. “The target is that the first production of batteries can be done in 2024,” Septian said.

He added that an agreement inked between Indonesian state miner PT Aneka Tambang and CATL requires the Chinese company to ensure that 60% of nickel mined must be processed into batteries built in Indonesia. “We don’t want them to get our nickel but then process it abroad,” he explained.

The country is looking to ramp up processing of its rich supplies of nickel laterite ore for use in lithium batteries, and has outlined its ambition to become a major player in lithium battery manufacturing and eventually, a global hub for the production and export of EVs.

In June, news emerged that Hyundai and LG Chem were reportedly considering setting up an EV battery manufacturing joint venture in the country, with the latter considering a US$9.8 billion (RM39.5 billion) investment into building an EV battery factory integrated with a smelter.

Meanwhile, Hyundai has said it expects to begin manufacturing EVs in Indonesia in 2022. The Korean automaker is currently constructing a new assembly plant in Cikarang, West Java, and the facility will be up and running by the end of 2021. Initially, the factory will produce combustion engine models, but will begin EV production the following year.