In response to federal EV incentives favoring domestic production, a top Hyundai executive claimed that the company is rushing to begin producing EVs and batteries at a $7.6 billion complex in coastal Georgia.
Jose Munoz, Hyundai’s president and chief operating officer, remarked to reporters in Atlanta after the company and Georgia Tech agreed to cooperate to advance research into hydrogen-fueled vehicles and develop personnel for the Korean business.
The group, which also produces Kia and Genesis vehicles, believes that the Inflation Reduction Act unfairly penalizes businesses that import EVs or batteries outside North America. The massive federal law, one of President Joe Biden’s signature accomplishments, aims to combat climate change. The law offers EV customers a tax credit worth up to $7,500, but only for vehicles produced in North America and using domestic batteries.
Since dealers can apply the credit to any leased EV, regardless of where it was built, to lower a customer’s monthly payment, the regulation has continued to benefit Hyundai and other firms that sell imported cars. Munoz presented data showing that, after Tesla, the Hyundai group sold or leased the second-highest number of EVs in the U.S. during the first half of 2023.
Nevertheless, the law is pushing Hyundai to make batteries and electric vehicles in the U.S. more quickly, Munoz said, with the company speeding up construction in an attempt to start production in Georgia sometime in 2024.
Munoz stated, “We would like to ensure that the sourcing of the batteries is 100% USA to comply with the IRA,” adding that the higher investment would also ensure that LG and Hyundai employed “the best possible technology” to manufacture batteries.
However, another goal of the partnership, which Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera called “a big deal for us,” is to provide graduates with a route to employment at Hyundai. “More and more, the jobs we’re bringing are highly skilled, highly qualified,” Munoz added. “If you look at how our plant operates, it’s like a lab. Therefore, we require lots of talented young people.”
Munoz claimed that the plant outside Savannah is undergoing rapid development and was unaffected by Hurricane Idalia last month. Additionally, Hyundai has promised to pay employees an average monthly salary of $58,105 plus benefits, which could entitle the company to $2.1 billion in state and local tax cuts.