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Hyundai Is Tesla’s Latest Challenger With Plans For $5.5 Billion U.S. EV, Battery Plant

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, left, and Hyundai CEO Jay Chang at a signing ceremony for the automaker’s new electric vehicle and battery plant in Bryan County, Georgia.

Office of Georgia Governor Brian Kemp

Hyundai Motor Group intends to invest $5.54 billion in its first dedicated electric vehicle and battery plant in the U.S., joining General Motors, Ford, Volkswagen and other global auto giants that seek to dethrone Tesla as the world’s top EV brand.

The Seoul-based carmaker intends to build the factory on a 2,923-acre site in Bryan County, Georgia, near the port city of Savanah, with production there to begin in the first half of 2025. The facility will have the capacity to produce 300,000 vehicles annually and should employ more than 8,000 workers when fully operational.

“The U.S. has always held an important place in the group’s global strategy, and we are excited to partner with the state of Georgia to achieve our shared goal of electrified mobility and sustainability in the U.S.,” Executive Chairman Euisun Chung said in prepared remarks. The facility will be Hyundai’s first dedicated EV plant in North America.

Hyundai’s multibillion U.S. investment plan follows similar announcements from GM and Ford which are also pouring billions of dollars into new and expanded factories to churn out electric vehicles amid pressure to reduce climate-damaging emissions from cars and trucks. The company has set a goal of ranking among the top three EV sellers in the U.S. by 2026 and boosting its sales of battery-powered vehicles to 3.2 million units annually by 2030. Tesla sold about 1 million battery-electric vehicles in 2021 and accounted for about 75% of EVs sold in the U.S. last year.

Hyundai also follows startup Rivian which announced plans late last year to make electric vehicles in Georgia at a new $5 billion facility in Morgan and Walton Counties, east of Atlanta.

The news comes the same day that President Joe Biden, who is pushing for a dramatic increase in U.S. production and sales of electric vehicles to cut carbon emissions and increase domestic manufacturing, began his first official visit to strengthen ties with South Korea. Hyundai this week said it plans to spend $16.5 billion through the end of the decade to expand its global electric vehicle business.

Hyundai Motor’s electric IONIQ 5 has been a fast seller in the U.S. this year.

AFP via Getty Images

Hyundai CEO Jay Chang and president and COO José Muñoz attended a signing ceremony Friday in Bryan County with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Hyundai already builds vehicles for the U.S. in Alabama and said it will provide additional details about battery production in Georgia at a later date. Potentially, battery packs made there could also supply electric vehicles produced in West Point, Georgia, by Kia, a Hyundai Group affiliate.

Shares of Hyundai rose 2.5% to close at 186,500 won in Seoul on Friday.

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