Jakarta (ANTARA) - The absorption of the government's electric vehicle (EV) subsidy program in 2023 reached Rp78 billion (US$5 million) and covered the purchase of 11,532 electric motorbikes, Industry Minister Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita revealed on Wednesday.

Speaking at his office, the minister noted that the figure was still far below the target of subsidizing the purchase of 200 thousand electric motorcycles with a budget of Rp1.4 trillion (US$90.2 million).

He then emphasized the importance of ensuring that EVs are powered by durable and fast-charging batteries to attract more people to avail the subsidy.

"To consumers, the most important thing for electric cars and motorcycles is durable and easy-to-recharge batteries. People now deem 3–4 hours of charging time for electric car batteries as too long. I believe that we can utilize technology to make the charging process faster," he said.

He informed that the Ministry of Industry has been consistently communicating with the producers of electric motorbikes as part of an effort to formulate standards for battery endurance to ensure fair competition in the industry.

"This is the best momentum for the government to push for the policy (standardization), as I see that producers of electric motorcycles and the vehicles' batteries have come to the same playing field. Hence, it is crucial to standardize battery endurance," he pointed out.

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Kartasasmita further said that the low absorption rate of the subsidy program has also adversely affected the Industry Ministry's budget absorption.

However, he added, the ministry's total budget absorption, excluding subsidy and incentive programs, managed to reach 99 percent last year.

The minister further informed that for 2024, the Industry Ministry has prepared a budget of Rp350 billion (US$22.5 million) for the purchase of 50 thousand electric motorbikes.

He expressed optimism about achieving the program's target, considering that the calculation of last year's subsidy realization only began in April, while the government simplified the requirements for obtaining the subsidy in September.

"Since we are starting in January (this year), I believe that we will manage (to achieve the target)," he said.

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Translator: Ade Irma, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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