Documents reveal new details about future Hyundai EV plant in Georgia

ELLABELL, GEORGIA - MAY 20, 2022: Hyundai Motor Group President and CEO Jae Hoon Chang speaks to during the announcement that the South Korean automotive giant is building an electric vehicle plant in Ellabell, Ga. It is the second major electric vehicle factory announcement in Georgia since December as state economic development officials try to turn the Peach State into an important manufacturing hub for battery-powered automobiles. (AJC Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Combined ShapeCaption
ELLABELL, GEORGIA - MAY 20, 2022: Hyundai Motor Group President and CEO Jae Hoon Chang speaks to during the announcement that the South Korean automotive giant is building an electric vehicle plant in Ellabell, Ga. It is the second major electric vehicle factory announcement in Georgia since December as state economic development officials try to turn the Peach State into an important manufacturing hub for battery-powered automobiles. (AJC Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

New freeway interchanges, roads among projects planned to serve factory near Savannah.

The future Hyundai Motor Group electric vehicle factory in Bryan County near Savannah could become one of the largest industrial complexes in the South, featuring more floor space than 10 Lenox Square malls, served by a new network of roads and requiring expansive new water and wastewater services, new documents show.

The future factory will span 11 buildings and some 17 million square feet of floor space, according to documents filed as part of a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) notice to the Coastal Regional Commission of Georgia. The project will be served by new interchanges on I-16 and roads will be constructed and widened around the nearly 3,000-acre site.

Bryan County also plans a substantial expansion to its water and wastewater systems, including a new water tower and miles of piping to service the EV factory, documents show. The costs of these projects were not disclosed.

On May 20, Hyundai officials and Gov. Brian Kemp confirmed the automaker’s plans to build a $5.54 billion factory along I-16 near the Ellabell community, about 30 minutes west of Savannah. Hyundai officials said the factory, which will make EVs and batteries and open in 2025, eventually could employ about 8,100 workers.

“This high-tech EV plant represents the future of our business,” Jae Hoon Chang, Hyundai Motor’s president and CEO, said during a ceremony last week.

The Hyundai plant is the second major electric vehicle factory announcement in Georgia since December following an announcement by EV startup Rivian of a $5 billion factory on I-20 east of Atlanta where it has promised 7,500 jobs. Rivian’s long-range plans call for floor space of 20 million square feet.

The new Hyundai factory will rise on the Bryan County Megasite, located at I-16 and U.S. 280. Hyundai officials said they will break ground in 2023 and start production in 2025 with capacity to ultimately build 300,000 EVs a year.

Hyundai officials said they chose Georgia for its EV hub because of its workforce and the company’s existing supplier network. The state boasts global connections via Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and two seaports in Savannah and Brunswick.

Hyundai committed to $1 billion in investments from its supplier network, which could lead to thousands of additional jobs, Pat Wilson, the state’s economic development commissioner, said in an interview last week.

Plug-in vehicles are widely seen as the future of the industry, and states have clamored to win new EV factories by showering automakers with billions in incentives. Rivian received a package of state and local incentives valued at $1.5 billion, including tax credits, grants, free land, a workforce training center and road improvements that include a freeway interchange.

The incentive package for Hyundai, which has not been released, is likely to be similar, and potentially larger, as the company has promised more jobs.

The DRI filing outlines infrastructure improvements that, like for Rivian, will be built by state and local agencies to accommodate the plant and will likely be included in the price tag of the incentive package.

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May 11, 2022 West Point - Aerial photo shows Kia Motors' US Assembly Plant in West Point on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The future Hyundai Motor Group factory in Bryan County is likely to be far larger. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

May 11, 2022 West Point - Aerial photo shows Kia Motors' US Assembly Plant in West Point on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The future Hyundai Motor Group factory in Bryan County is likely to be far larger. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Combined ShapeCaption
May 11, 2022 West Point - Aerial photo shows Kia Motors' US Assembly Plant in West Point on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The future Hyundai Motor Group factory in Bryan County is likely to be far larger. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The DRI filing said the project’s scope includes the 11 manufacturing buildings along with “road, water, and sewer extensions to access and serve the facility.”

These include widening U.S. 280, expanding the interchange at I-16 and building a new one east of the current exit. The factory will be served by a new four-lane frontage road and a four-lane entrance road.

Hyundai Motor includes the Hyundai, Kia and Genesis brands. The company wants EV manufacturing to grow exponentially to 3.23 million EVs a year globally by 2030.

Bryan County plans to expand water service across three phases, the document said, and the projects will include new wells in Bryan and nearby Bulloch County, new pumping stations and a water tower on site.

Wastewater treatment capacity in the northern part of Bryan County will also be expanded, according to the document.

The document said that wetlands permits are “in process.” The company or local leaders will likely need to file and receive approval of such permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.