Indonesia says it remains committed to mass-producing fully electric vehicles by 2025 in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and is keeping that ambition going with a new programme that aims to produce at least 19,000 EVs and 750,000 electric motorcycles by 2025, Xinhua reports.

The country had signaled its intent last year when it drafted measures aimed at accelerating the adoption of battery-powered cars and building a base for the production and export of EVs, with planned benefits including lower taxes for manufacturers and buyers to spur adoption. President Joko Widodo had also signed off on a decree that defined government support to build the EV industry.

Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, the government had outlined a target of 20% of total vehicle production to be made up of electric and hybrid vehicles by 2025, with production of EVs to begin by 2022, the same year when battery production would also start. The pandemic has undoubtedly blunted that target, but the latest initiative – using the potential improvement to the enviroment as a basis – is part of the country’s attempt to renew its push in the sector.

According to the country’s minister of energy and mineral resources, Arifin Tasrif, the ministry estimates that the country would potentially reduce around 283,000 tons of CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions if the proposed number of EVs were on the road by 2025.

“The use of electric vehicles is expected to improve the air quality and support the achievement of national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets,” he said. He added that the move is in line with the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement, which looks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030.

“We need extraordinary work and good synergy to achieve the target that has been set. We hope that we can continue to contribute to this programme of providing battery-based electric motorised vehicles with all possible activities,” the minister said during the launch of the programme.

In line with the planned increase of EVs and electric motorcycles, Arifin said the country is looking to increase the supporting infrastructure by building charging stations at 2,400 spots and battery exchange stations at 10,000 locations by 2025.

Indonesia has been ramping up on its plans to become a regional hub for both EV and battery production. Last month, Hyundai said it was set to begin manufacturing EVs in the country sometime in 2022, and battery makers are also following suit – Chinese company CATL is said to be investing US$5.1 billion (RM20.6 billion) to set up a facility to manufacture EV batteries, with initial production due in 2024.