Hyundai says first EV plant will open soon to gain $7,500 tax credit

The first Hyundai plant dedicated to building EVs and batteries in the US will be open as soon as this October. According to Hyundai Motor America CEO Jose Munoz, the brand is “pulling ahead” to gain eligibility for the $7,500 EV tax credit.

Hyundai will open its first EV plant in the US in 2024

Hyundai began construction on its massive $7.6 billion EV megaplant in Georgia in October 2022. A year later, the company announced that 99.9% of the foundation work was complete as it fast-tracked construction.

The site “is advancing ever day,’” according to Oscar Kwon CEO of the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA).

Although Hyundai initially planned to begin construction in early 2023, the company pushed ahead after the Inflation Reduction Act was passed. With a $7,500 tax credit on the line, Hyundai has pulled the timeline forward as quickly as possible.

Munoz told Automotive News that Hyundai is “pulling ahead because everybody knows how important it is” that they don’t qualify for the tax credit.

Despite this, Hyundai Motor (including Kia and Genesis) surged past Ford and GM to become the second largest EV seller in the US, behind only Tesla. A big part of the brand’s success is thanks to a loophole allowing its EVs to qualify for the $7,500 tax credit through leasing.

Hyundai IONIQ 5 (Source: Hyundai)

Hyundai and Kia accounted for around 8% of passenger EVs sold (117,000 units sold) in the US last year, according to BloombergNEF data.

Betting on electric vehicles

The automaker is gaining ground with dedicated EVs like the IONIQ 5, IONIQ 6, and Kia’s new three-row EV9.

Munoz said EVs produced at the new plant will qualify for the tax credit. “There are a lot of moving pieces, but I am confident very shortly after we start, we will be compliant,” he explained.

Hyundai IONIQ 6 Limited (Source: Hyundai)

The first Hyundai EV plant is expected to open as early as October 2024, three months ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, battery production with LG Energy is slated to begin in January. Hyundai said it will source batteries from other US plants to bridge the gap.

Once up and running, Hyundai’s Metaplant will be able to build 300,000 EVs annually. Hyundai says that it can be expanded to 500,000 if needed.

Hyundai IONIQ 7 concept (Source: Hyundai)

Six electric models across the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands will be assembled at the facility, including Hyundai’s first three-row electric SUV, the IONIQ 7. Hyundai’s IONIQ 7 is expected to debut this year, with production starting in 2025.

Despite rivals Ford and GM delaying EV initiatives and pulling back on production, Hyundai is keeping its foot on the accelerator.

Munoz mentioned, “IONIQ 5 grew almost 50 percent last year, and IONIQ 6 is getting a good pace. Kona EV also is doing really well.”

2024 Hyundai Kona Electric (Source: Hyundai)

Although only a few dealers are still not selling IONIQ EVs, Munoz said, “We are telling them to please hurry up because we are going to continue to bet on electric vehicles.”

Munoz added to ease dealer concerns, Hyundai will add compatibility for Tesla’s NACS by the fourth quarter. Older models will get an adaptor so they can still access the network.

With incentives including a $7,500 special cash offer, the 2024 Hyundai IONIQ 6 undercuts the new Tesla Model 3 by over $9,000. Meanwhile, starting at $32,675, the 2024 Hyundai Kona Electric is one of the most affordable EVs in the US.

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