Hyundai Motor Group has been considering where to establish its planned EV manufacturing hub for the United States for roughly a year now and is reportedly zeroing in on the State of Georgia as a final destination. It’s even said to have conducted some preliminary meetings with local leaders about the possibility of breaking ground in an area that could be strategically aligned with its existing facilities – namely Montgomery’s Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) and West Point’s Kia Motors Manufacturing Georgia (KMMG).
Reuters broke the story, citing the usual unnamed sources that are “familiar with the matter.” While the automaker has confirmed that it has a loose plan in place for its upcoming EV pant, it’s been unwilling to share any specifics regarding the possibility of future investments.
The new Georgia EV facility, if it is finalized, would serve both Hyundai and Kia as the brands move to roll out a pair of fully electric SUVs – the Ioniq 7 and EV9 – aimed at the U.S. market, the three people with knowledge of the plans told Reuters.
Georgia’s Economic Department declined to comment. “We do not comment on speculation about economic development projects,” said a state economic development department spokesperson.
The announcement of an investment deal by Hyundai would come at a time when the administration of President Joe Biden has been pushing for more investment in EVs and related suppliers to create jobs and drive a clean-energy agenda. It would also mark a major economic development win for Georgia, which has pushed to establish itself as a regional hub for the emerging EV industry.
The Korean car company has been pouring cash into the region, with the most recent investment being last month’s $300-million push to manufacture the Genesis GV70 EV and a hybrid version of the Santa Fe in Alabama. SK Innovation (Hyundai’s chief battery supplier) has also been expanding in Georgia, tossing more than $2 billion into two planned facilities. But the entire Southeastern region is quickly becoming a haven for battery plants, with CATL, LG Energy Solution, and Samsung SDI having made investments of their own.
Reuters speculated that a formal announcement could arrive shortly before the May 24th Georgia primary election in which Republican Governor Brian Kemp is being challenged by former U.S. Senator David Perdue – suggesting a final decision may hinge on the political climate. It likewise noted that Hyundai had been hoping to announce its U.S. investment in electric vehicle manufacturing later this month to coincide with Biden’s planned visit to South Korea, citing another unnamed person with knowledge of the overarching strategy.
The Biden administration has said it will allocate more than $3 billion in funding that would have gone to support U.S. infrastructure to help finance domestic EV manufacturing. Biden’s ultimate goal is to have half of all vehicles sold within the nation to be electric by 2030.
Meanwhile, local outlets have been musing what the new facility could mean in terms of jobs – with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporting that the company plans to hire 8,500 people to work at a site planned along I-16 in Bryan County, near Savannah.
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