Indonesia’s Bakrie Group said it had started construction of a new assembly plant for electric commercial vehicles (BECVs).

The Jakarta based resources and energy group sells BECVs through its PT VKTR Technology Mobility (VKTR) subsidiary.

It was building the Magelang assembly plant in a deal with local body builder PT Karoseri Tri Sakti.

A new joint venture has been established to manage the plant called VKTR Sakti Industries (VKTS), in which VKTR is investing IDR200bn (US$13m). The factory is expected to have capacity for 3,000 BECVs per year mainly targeting mainly growing local demand for zero emission buses and municipal vehicles. The company also aims to work up to a local content of 40%.

The plant will initially assemble buses supplied by BYD in completely knocked down (CKD) kits. VKTR already imports BYD electric buses fully built.

Public transport operators in Indonesia began switching to zero emission vehicles in 2022, led by PT Transportasi Jakarta (TransJakarta), the public bus operator owned by the Jakarta city administration which carries 1.1m passengers daily.

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The company said it had acquired 100 battery buses in 2023 and aimed to replace around half of its diesels by 2027 before going fully electric by 2030 when it expected to have 10,000 EVs in operation.