Hyundai Plans to Build a New U.S. EV Factory in Georgia, According to Sources

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【Summary】South Korean automaker Hyundai is planning to build an electric vehicle factory in Georgia, according to people familiar with the automaker’s plans. The Georgia EV factory will build vehicles for both Hyundai and Kia.

FutureCar Staff    Jun 15, 2022 10:30 AM PT
Hyundai Plans to Build a New U.S. EV Factory in Georgia, According to Sources

South Korean automaker Hyundai is planning to build an electric vehicle factory in Georgia, according to people familiar with the automaker's plans that spoke to Reuters.

Hyundai has held discussions with state officials in Georgia, near existing plants for the Hyundai and its Kia brand, according to the people. However, the automaker declined to comment on the report.

"We are excited to announce a new EV plant plan in the United States soon, but we do not have details to share at this stage," Hyundai wrote in a statement to Reuters when asked about the plans. Hyundai's comment to Reuters was the company's first confirmation that it was nearing an announcement for its U.S. EV factory.

Three people with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters that Hyundai is in advanced discussions with state officials to build a dedicated EV facility in Georgia, Although details about the amount Hyundai will invest in the factory, including the projected costs and number of jobs it will create are still not clear.

The Georgia EV facility will build vehicles for both Hyundai and Kia. The automaker will soon build two new electric SUVs for the U.S. market, one under each brand. Hyundai will offer the Ioniq 7 and the EV9 SUV will be sold by Kia. 

Kia said last month that it was looking to shift production to the U.S. but was not considering a dedicated EV factory on its own.

According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hyundai is negotiating for a factory site along I-16 in Bryan County, near Savannah that could employ as many as 8,500 people. The newspaper said the plant could be located on roughly a 2,200-acre site that the state had previously proposed to electric truck maker Rivian, Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover.

Hyundai factory plans would see the Southeast region of the U.S. emerging as a major hub for vehicle production in the U.S. Assembly plants operated by Mercedes-Benz, Honda and Hyundai have made the neighboring state of Alabama one of the top five states for vehicle production in the U.S.

Alabama's vehicle production supports roughly 40,000 manufacturing jobs.

In addition, the new joint venture between Mazda and Toyota called Mazda Toyota Manufacturing (MTM) built a jointly owned-and-operated automotive production plant near Huntsville. The $2.3 billion facility is expected to create up to 4,000 jobs and will have the capacity to assemble up to 300,000 vehicles a year. The first model built at the new factory is the Toyota Cross SUV. Production began in Sept 2021.

Hyundai announced a $300-million investment last month to manufacture the all-electric Genesis GV 70 and a hybrid version of the Santa Fe at its Alabama plant. 

Electric truck maker Rivian plans to build its second $5 billion EV factory in Georgia along Interstate 20 straddling Walton and Morgan counties about an hour's drive east of Atlanta, between the cities of Social Circle and Rutledge.

The factory site includes an area encompassing 1,978 acres marketed as the "East Atlanta Megasite." It's one of the largest available industrial sites in the state, according to state officials. It's also in proximity to rail lines, which can be used to ship materials to and from the factory.

Georgia is offering Rivian a long list of incentives to set up manufacturing in the state, which could be valued at approximately $1.5 billion. These include grants, worker training, tax credits and other perks. 

Hyundai will likely receive a similar incentive package for its new EV factory.

However, Georgia's Economic Department declined to comment. A state economic development department spokesperson told Reuters that "We do not comment on speculation about economic development projects."

Hyundai's electrification push also requires investments in EV battery technology. The automaker is working to increase the local procurement rate of batteries through strategic alliances with battery manufacturers in major regions, including the U.S.

Hyundai's battery supplier SK On, which is SK Innovation's battery unit, recently built two adjacent plants in Georgia to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles. The first, which is currently supplying batteries to Volkswagen AG began production earlier this year. The second plant, which is scheduled to open in early 2023, will supply batteries to Ford Motor Co.

SK On will supply the battery for the upcoming Ioniq 7, a source told Reuters. 

Hyundai's goal is to secure 170 GWh of batteries for its future models, including for its luxury brand Genesis by 2030. The SK On facility aims to manufacture 22 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion battery cells annually, which is enough to power about 430,000 vehicles.

In March, Hyundai unveiled a new strategic roadmap to accelerate its electrification goals. The plans include an investment of $79.2 billion through 2030 to boost its annual EV sales to 1.87 million units and take a 7% global EV market share by decade end.

Hyundai plans to introduce 17 electric models by 2030, which include six Hyundai-branded models and vehicles from its luxury brand Genesis by 2030. The models include three sedans, six SUVs, one light commercial vehicle and one new type model. 

Hyundai also plans to introduce a new Integrated Modular Architecture (IMA), evolved from its current global modular EV platform ("E-GMP") that serves as the foundation of IONIQ 5 and Genesis GV60.

The IMA will be utilized for Hyundai's passenger BEV platform but also as its exclusive purpose-built vehicle (PBV) platform. Hyundai says the new platform will help to streamline production processes and reduce vehicle costs. 

The IMA standardizes the vehicle's chassis, battery system and motor. Hyundai plans to use five standardized electric motors of all of its electric models. The IMA architecture can be used for BEV models in all segments and reduce the number of integrated control units in each vehicle by one-third, which will help to cut costs and allow Hyundai to offer more affordable EVs. 

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