Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indonesian government which commits the carmaker to help in expanding the use and availability of electric vehicles (EVs) in the country. This supports the government’s objective of encouraging the development of EVs as part of its strategy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions which are known to cause global warming.
The measures taken will include the government exploring the potential for new policies and incentive programs to encourage drivers and manufacturers to adopt electric vehicles.
Both the government and MMC will also work together to conduct a joint study to examine the efficient usage of EVs in Indonesia. For a start, MMC will provide 10 EVs and 4 charging units to the Ministry of Industry and other organisations, including national universities and research institutes.
“This Memorandum of Understanding is a vote of confidence by the Indonesian Government in the electric technologies of Mitsubishi Motors. At the same time, this announcement demonstrates the importance that Mitsubishi Motors places on Indonesia in our plans for future growth,” said Osamu Masuko, CEO of Mitsubishi Motors. “We are pleased to be playing our part in helping to reduce emissions in Indonesia and in supporting its transition to a low carbon economy.”
The MoU reflects the long-standing commitment by Mitsubishi Motors to Indonesia. The company entered the Indonesian market 46 years ago and, earlier this year, opened a new factory in Bekasi Prefecture. The factory can provide over 3,000 jobs and has the capacity to produces 160,000 vehicles a year. With the opening of the Bekasi plant, Indonesia has become a major production hub for MMC and is now at the heart of its business in ASEAN.
The company has not said that it will also produce EVs in Indonesia for the region but it’s understandable that such a move would first require an extensive recharging infrastructure to be established around the country. Without sufficient and conveniently located places to recharge their vehicles, many people would be reluctant to buy EVs as they would be confined only to specific areas. Perhaps MMC will start off with plug-in hybrids (PHEV) which do not depend solely on the battery pack as there is also a petrol engine that can power the car. The company also sells a PHEV variant of the Outlander which could be sold in Indonesia if the government provides an incentive that makes its price reasonable.
MMC’s experience in developing EVs goes back to the 1970s when it produced around 150 electrically-powered variants of its Minicab and Minicar that were supplied to government agencies and power companies in Japan. Seeing that Toyota and Honda had sped ahead with their hybrid technology, MMC chose instead to focus on EVs. This has now become advantageous as MMC has joined the Renault-Nissan Alliance which also has leadership in the EV field.
“Toyota’s strategy was to start with the hybrid and then move on to the plug-in hybrid and I expect they will go to EV. We acknowledged that Mitsubishi Motors was behind Toyota in terms of hybrid vehicles so we decided to skip the hybrid phase and proceed to EVs first. If you imagine a mountain with EV at the top, we headed to the top first and now we are gradually ‘lowering’ ourselves to plug-in hybrids,” Mr. Masuko told MOTOR TRADER during an interview in 2008.