Moeldoko-Bakrie Racing to Pioneer Electric Buses

Writer: Ameidyo Daud

Editor: Safrezi Fitra

5/8/2019, 07.36 WIB

Moeldoko's electric bus had passed the type test last year, according to Transportation Minister Budi Karya.

Bus Listrik Diujicoba untuk Transjakarta
Instagram/Anies Baswedan
Electric bus made by PT Bakrie Autoparts for Transjakarta was being tested at the Jakarta City Hall in April 2019.

Several companies began to target the development of electric buses in Indonesia. Various entrepreneurs are competing to pioneer the establishment of electric bus industry in the country, ranging from the Bakrie Group and Astra to government officials. This is in line with the government's plan to reduce gas emissions that contribute to air pollution in big cities like Jakarta.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo would propose to Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan to increase electricity-based transportation, one of which is buses. “I'll tell the governor,” he said when visiting the Bundaran HI MRT Station, Jakarta, Thursday (8/1).

Local industry players seem ready to welcome it. One of them is Mobil Anak Bangsa (MAB), which was established by Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko. He founded MAB to prove that Indonesia is capable of making electric buses. He even invited Indonesian youth to help him develop electric vehicles in his company. “I’ll give five percent of its [MAB] shares to anyone who contributes,” Moeldoko said.

MAB exhibited an electric bus prototype named Maxvel at the 2018 Gaikindo’s Indonesia International Commercial Vehicle Expo (GIICOMVEC). Moeldoko claimed the bus uses 45 percent of local components. According to him, the Indonesians built the chassis and the body, while the battery as the most important component was imported from Shanghai, China. However, he claimed to have secured a commitment from the Chinese manufacturer to build a battery plant in Indonesia.

Moeldoko’s Electric Bus Test

PT Karoseri Anak Bangsa, based in Demak in Central Java, will gradually assemble the electric bus, starting with 25 units in a month. Specifically, the bus has a length of 12 meters, a width of 2.5 meters, and a height of 3.8 meters. The wheelbase is 5,950 millimeters.

The MAB’s electric bus uses a LifePo 576 V 450 Ah battery, with a capacity of 259.2 kilowatt hours (kWh) and a weight of 2,290 kg. Charging the battery from an empty to full position takes 2.5 hours. The electric motor uses HYYQ 800-1.200, with permanent magnetic synchronous motor (PMSM) type. This motor can produce 200 KW of power with a maximum torque of 2,400 Nanometers (Nm). MAB claims the power is equivalent to 268.2 horsepower.

Moeldoko said the bus in the initial stages of the test will do short distance trips, such as from Soekarno Hatta Airport to the Transportation Ministry facilities in East Jakarta. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said MAB’ buses passed the type test late last year, “Mr. Moeldoko had passed it,” Budi said.

MAB then signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Perusahaan Penumpang Djakarta (PPD). Based on the MoU, MAB will supply electric buses and electric vehicles for one year, including spare parts and aftersales service. Moreover, Moeldoko also expects TransJakarta to use MAB’s buses. “We can provide at least 30 to 40 units in a month,” he said last March.

Bus Listrik MAB
Electric Bus made by MAB (PT Mobil Anak Bangsa)

Bakrie Group Participates in Electric Bus Production

Moeldoko is not the only electric bus player ready to jump into TransJakarta. Bakrie & Brothers, through its subsidiary Bakrie Autoparts, is also poised to enliven the competition for electric buses. Bakrie Autoparts President Director Dino Ryandi claimed to have teamed up with a Chinese manufacturer BYD to test the feasibility of an electric bus on the TransJakarta route later this year. “The time required is six months,” Dino told Katadata.co.id.

He said Bakrie decided to enter the electric bus industry since April 2018, as a form of business diversification. The challenge from the company’s big boss Aburizal Bakrie is also the reason for this new business search. “No change in 40 years. It should not be like that,” he said referring to the vehicle parts business that has been carried out by Bakrie Autoparts for decades.

Dino, who has 17 years of experience in Mercedes Benz Indonesia, predicts electric vehicles will continue to grow for the next 50 years. The decision to produce electric bus instead of electric car is taken because it saves more time. However, Bakrie must make an extra effort as it needs dealer penetration as well.

Bakrie’s meeting with BYD was the result of a worldwide search. Dino said Bakrie Autoparts had visited many brands in various parts of the world. As a result, many of those brands recommended Bakrie to collaborate with a Chinese battery manufacturer. Bakrie eventually also found BYD, which was originally a producer of electric batteries. “The double-decker buses used BYD when we went to London. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol [Netherlands] also used it,” he said.

Going forward, Bakrie will act as a chassis and technology buyer from BYD. It will also build the bus body and sell the buses to operators as well as serve the aftersales service. “That’s the system,” he said. To show its seriousness, Bakrie Autoparts also joined the Association of Indonesian Automotive Manufacturers (Gaikindo) as a brand holder agent (APM) for electric buses.

Large groups like Astra, through PT Isuzu Astra Motor Indonesia, said the development of electric buses still required time. Even so, Izusu hopes that preparations will be made in the near future. “We have done the research and studies,” PT Isuzu Astra Motor Indonesia Vice President Director Ernando Demily said, as quoted by Detik.

Meanwhile, Gaikindo ensures that Moeldoko and Bakrie are not the first and the last electric bus players in Indonesia. However, Gaikindo Chairman Jongkie Sugiarto expects a clarity in its tax regulation and infrastructure for recharging electricity to electric buses from the government. “If the time comes, the old APM will also work on the electric bus,” Jongkie told Katadata.co.id, Thursday (8/1).

Based on data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of electric buses in the world reached 460 thousand units in 2018, rising 25 percent from the previous year, 99 percent of which are operated by China.

Electric Buses in Several Countries

(IEA Data, 2019)

City (Country)

Number of Buses

Manufacturer

Electric Charging System

Santiago (Chile)

100 units

BYD

100 chargers are placed in the depot

Calcutta/Kolkata (India)

40 units

Tata Motor

40 chargers are placed in the depot

Paris (France)

23 units

Bluebus

Chargers are placed in the depot

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Netherlands)

100 units

VDL

Chargers are placed in the terminal and the depot

Shenzhen (China)

More than 16 thousand units

BYD

Chargers are mostly placed in the depot

The government is also still divided in addressing the rules for electric vehicles. According to the Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Ignasius Jonan, some ministers supported and some others did not when discussing presidential regulation (Perpres) for electric vehicles. “It should be resolved,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jokowi is still waiting for his subordinates to hand over the draft regulation to him. With the issuance of the Perpres, he hopes the supporting infrastructure for electric cars can be built, such as public electric charging stations (SPLU). “When the final draft arrive at my table, I will definitely sign it,” Jokowi said.

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