In about three weeks’ time, State Enterprises Minister Dahlan Iskan might be seen cruising Jakarta’s streets in a red, locally made electric sports car.
The car, bought for Rp 1.5 billion ($159,000), is still in a workshop in Yogyakarta, along with 39 others who have pre-ordered it, reportedly including President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
“It is still being produced now. I will have it in three weeks,” Dahlan said in Jakarta on Monday, adding that he was headed to Yogyakarta on Monday afternoon to check on it.
The car, said to be in the same class as a Ferrari, has yet to be named, but the minister said that Yudhoyono would be given the honor of naming it.
“Surely we can’t name it Ferrari; the owner of Ferrari will be mad. But this is basically a high-end car,” Dahlan said.
The car was created by Danet Suryatama, an engineering graduate from Surabaya’s Sepuluh November Institute of Technology (ITS) who received a doctoral degree from the University of Michigan in the United States and has worked in the US car industry for more than 10 years.
Dahlan previously wrote that Danet was preparing a luxury car to “beat the notion that electric cars are cheap cars.”
Danet is reportedly set to launch a prototype of the car in August and begin mass production early next year.
He is part of the five-member Pendawa Putra Petir (Sons of Thunder) team that Dahlan has appointed to develop a national electric car prototype.
Just last week, Dahlan tested twice an electric car, of lower-cost, developed by another Pendawa Putra Petir member, Dasep Ahmadi, a Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) graduate. The first test failed because of lack of power supply for the car, but the second one is reportedly a success.
Research and Technology Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta previously said the government was earmarking Rp 100 billion ($10.6 million) for the development of a national electric car by four state universities. The minister has also said that the Indonesian Institute of Sciences LIPI had been allocated Rp 1.2 trillion to develop an electric minibus capable of carrying up to 16 passengers.