Battery, Powering Sustainable Electric Transportation in ASEAN

Article and photos by Dr Eng Muhammad Makky, the 2018/19 ASEAN Science and Technology Fellow placed at the Ministry of Research, Technology & Higher Education, Indonesia.

The key to Electrical Vehicles (EVS) is battery technology. The materials used and battery management system are two of the most important focus for developing local EVs in ASEAN. Choosing to work on this topic, my actions have provided input to the host ministry (Ministry of Research, Technology & Higher Education, Indonesia) regarding the availability of EVs batteries’ raw material in Indonesia, together with its technology- progress for energy-storage application.

I used a literature review, evaluating documents and records, interviews, surveys, observations, focus groups, and case studies for data collection. interviews were performed with my supervisor, who worked as the Directorate of Industry-Energy and Transportation in Indonesia and linked me to the Indonesian battery research-group. Discussions were done with group members from LIPI, who successfully developed battery- cells designed using locally-processed-materials, producing several prototypes. The design is used by UNS techno-park to manufacture 1000 battery-cells monthly. Discussions with the group during the 23rd National Technology-Awakening Day (HAKTEKNAS) gave me the information regarding the current energy-storage application of the battery. I learned that it is used to power indigenous two-wheel EV (GESIT). The motorcycle uses battery swap-technology where battery-cells are packed into one module and managed by the battery-management system. Swap technology is developed by three local companies.

The results of this fact-finding were delivered to the Minister, H.E. Prof Dr Mohamad Nasir, during the 10th Informal ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology (IAMMST-10). Furthermore, the issue had also been raised to the head of the Indonesian Committee on Science and Technology during the 75th Meeting of the Committee on Science and Technology (COST-75). I have also delivered the facts during my speech as a keynote speaker at the 2nd International Conference on Security in Food, Renewable Resources, and Natural Medicines. Moreover, the current technology battery status in Indonesia was also explained in a graduate student seminar at Japan’s Kobe University as part of my visiting professor activity there. In addition, with partners from the EU, I tried to propose research for improving the battery technology in Indonesia.

Nonetheless, the battery-technology and energy-density are still lacking when compared to imported battery-cells from Non-ASEAN countries. However, since it is developed locally, the prices are competitive. Based on my findings, short-term and long-term policy recommendations are being prepared for my host ministry to direct the National Research Priority and Policies 2020-2024 Regarding Transportation as well as transportation road map-and-strategy for Indonesia.

Discussion on technological readiness of Indonesian electrical vehicle to the Minister of Research, Technology and higher education (H.E. Prof. H. Mohamad Nasir, Ph.D., Ak.) as part of the Fellowship activities.
Discussion with LIPI Researchers on Battery Cells Prototype.
UNS Technopark producing 1000 Battery-cells designed by LIPI, every month.
Visiting professor at Kobe University (Japan) Graduate student seminar.
Indigenous two-wheel EV (GESIT) produced by Indonesian Company powered by battery modules manufactured in Indonesia using Battery.
Battery-cells packed into one module can be swapped at charging stations in minutes.

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