Wed. Oct 4th, 2023
    Hyundai Rushing to Start Electric Vehicle and Battery Production in Georgia

    Hyundai is working to expedite its plans for electric vehicle and battery production at a $7.6 billion complex in Georgia, according to Hyundai President and Global Chief Operating Officer Jose Munoz. The urgency comes as the company seeks to take advantage of federal electric vehicle incentives that favor domestic production. Munoz made the announcement during a partnership signing with Georgia Tech aimed at bolstering research into hydrogen-fueled vehicles and training workers for Hyundai.

    Under the Inflation Reduction Act, companies importing electric batteries or vehicles from outside North America are disadvantaged compared to those producing domestically. The act provides a tax credit of up to $7,500 for electric vehicle buyers, but only for cars made in North America with domestic batteries. Despite this, Hyundai and other companies selling imported vehicles have benefited indirectly by being able to apply the credit to any leased electric vehicle, regardless of its origin.

    Nevertheless, Munoz stated that the Inflation Reduction Act is pushing Hyundai to accelerate its plans for battery and electric vehicle production in the U.S. The company is expediting construction at the Georgia complex and aims to begin production sometime in 2024. The South Korean automaker and its battery partner, LG Energy Solution, have recently invested an additional $2 billion in battery production at the complex and plan to hire an additional 400 workers, increasing total employment to 8,500.

    Hyundai’s goal is to ensure that the sourcing of batteries for its vehicles is 100% American in order to comply with the Inflation Reduction Act. The increased investment will also enable Hyundai and LG to utilize state-of-the-art battery manufacturing technology. Munoz highlighted the rapid progress of construction at the plant near Savannah and reassured that it was not affected by last month’s Hurricane Idalia. Hyundai could potentially qualify for $2.1 billion in state and local tax breaks, while committing to paying workers an average yearly salary of $58,105, plus benefits.

    Munoz reiterated Hyundai’s commitment to fully electric vehicles, viewing hybrids as a “stepping stone” towards gasoline-free vehicles. The company is also exploring the use of fuel cells, particularly for heavy-duty trucks and long-range vehicles. Munoz sees hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles as the best technology for these applications due to their long range capabilities. Hyundai hopes to leverage Georgia Tech’s research expertise in hydrogen to further advance the technology. The partnership with Georgia Tech also aims to create pathways for graduates to seek employment at Hyundai given the company’s increasing need for highly skilled individuals.

    – Source: Associated Press
    – Image Source: WABE via AP