Tesla in Malaysia: A challenge or an opportunity for Indonesia?

Tesla in Malaysia: A challenge or an opportunity for Indonesia?
Tesla |

Tesla, the world's leading electric vehicle (EV) company, has recently announced its plans to enter the Malaysian market. The move has sparked a lot of interest and speculation among EV enthusiasts and industry players in Southeast Asia, especially in Indonesia, which is the largest and most populous country in the region.

Tesla is known for its cutting-edge technology, innovative design, and loyal fan base. The company has revolutionized the EV industry with its high-performance and high-quality products, such as the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y. Tesla also has a strong presence in the renewable energy sector, with its solar panels, batteries, and charging stations.

However, Tesla also faces some challenges in expanding its business in Malaysia. One of the main obstacles is the lack of adequate charging infrastructure in the country, which limits the range and convenience of EVs. Another challenge is the high import taxes and duties that make EVs more expensive than conventional vehicles. Moreover, Tesla has to compete with other established automakers that have already entered the Malaysian EV market, such as Nissan, Hyundai, and BMW.

How does Tesla's entry into Malaysia affect the Indonesian EV market? Is it a threat or an opportunity for the archipelago nation?

Comparing the EV markets of Malaysia and Indonesia

Malaysia and Indonesia have different characteristics and potentials when it comes to their EV markets. Malaysia has a higher EV penetration rate than Indonesia, with about 0.4% of its total vehicle population being EVs in 2022. This is partly due to the government's support for EV development, such as providing tax exemptions, subsidies, and incentives for EV buyers and manufacturers.

Indonesia, on the other hand, has a lower EV penetration rate, with only about 0.1% of its total vehicle population being EVs in 2022. However, Indonesia has a much larger potential market size than Malaysia, with about 125 million registered vehicles in 2022, compared to Malaysia's 28 million. Indonesia also has abundant natural resources that are essential for EV production, such as nickel, cobalt, and lithium.

Furthermore, Indonesia has a more comprehensive and ambitious policy framework for EV development than Malaysia. Indonesia has set a target to have 20% of its total vehicle production be EVs by 2025. To achieve this goal, Indonesia has implemented various measures to promote EV adoption and production, such as:

  • Offering tax incentives for EV buyers and producers
  • Imposing local content requirements for EV components
  • Developing battery production facilities with foreign partners
  • Building charging stations across the country

 How can Indonesia become a regional leader in EV production and adoption?

Indonesia should not be worried about Tesla's presence in Malaysia, but rather see it as a catalyst for innovation and competition. Tesla can inspire and motivate Indonesian EV players to improve their products and services, as well as explore new markets and opportunities.

Indonesia should also leverage its strengths and advantages to become a regional leader in EV production and adoption. Some of the strategies that Indonesia can adopt are:

  • Improving its EV infrastructure: Indonesia should invest more in building and expanding its charging network, as well as improving its road conditions and safety standards. This will enhance the convenience and reliability of EVs for consumers.
  • Increasing its domestic demand: Indonesia should stimulate its domestic demand for EVs by raising public awareness and education about the benefits of EVs, such as lower emissions, fuel savings, and maintenance costs. Indonesia should also create more incentives and programs to encourage consumers to switch from conventional vehicles to EVs.
  • Attracting more foreign investment: Indonesia should attract more foreign investment in its EV industry by creating a conducive business environment and regulatory framework. Indonesia should also showcase its potential as a large and growing market for EVs, as well as a rich source of raw materials for battery production.
  • Collaborating with other ASEAN countries: Indonesia should collaborate with other ASEAN countries to create a regional EV ecosystem that can benefit from economies of scale, market integration, and technology transfer. Indonesia should also participate in regional initiatives and agreements that support EV development, such as the ASEAN Smart Cities Network and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Tesla's entry into Malaysia is not a threat to Indonesia's EV industry, but rather an opportunity for growth and development. Indonesia has the potential to create its own EV success story if it can overcome its challenges and seize its opportunities. By improving its infrastructure, increasing its demand, attracting more investment, and collaborating with other countries, Indonesia can become a regional leader in EV production and adoption.


Reference :  Tan, Daniel. “Is Indonesia worried about Tesla in Malaysia?” Tech Wire Asia, 6 Aug. 2023, 

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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