JAKARTA (Reuters) - Volkswagen will build an electric vehicle (EV) battery ecosystem in Indonesia and will partner with miner Vale, Ford and China's battery minerals producer Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt, the Southeast Asian country's investment minister said.
Automakers are courting Indonesia for its raw materials used in producing EV batteries, which account for about 40% of a vehicle's sticker price, aiming to cut costs and close the gap on EV market leader Tesla.
Minister Bahlil Lahadalia said in a video statement Volkswagen, Europe's biggest automaker, will work with Vale, Ford, Huayou, French miner Eramet and several Indonesian firms such as Merdeka Gold Copper, the parent company of Merdeka Battery, and energy firm Kalla Group.
Bahlil said the partnership would consist of joint ventures or supplying raw materials.
Volkswagen, Ford, Eramet, Merdeka Battery, Kalla Group, Merdeka Gold Copper did not immediately respond to requests for comment. PT Vale Indonesia declined to comment.
Indonesia, which has the world's biggest nickel reserves, has been trying to develop downstream industries for the metal, ultimately aiming to produce batteries and EVs.
Last month, Ford (F.N) inked its first investment in Indonesia by joining Vale Indonesia and Huayou in a $4.5 billion nickel processing plant in Pomalaa in Southeast Sulawesi, where Vale operates a nickel mine.
(Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Ed Davies)