Hyundai sets date to break ground on $5.5B EV factory in Georgia

Oct. 25 groundbreaking will kickstart construction on the largest economic development project in state history

Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Credit: Stephen B. Morton for The Atlanta Journal Constitution

Hyundai Motor Group is pushing past its issues with the U.S.’s new electric vehicle tax credits and announced plans Wednesday for a ceremonial groundbreaking later this month for its $5.5 billion factory near Savannah.

Company officials will join state and local leaders at the 3,000-acre project site in Bryan County on Oct. 25 for two ceremonial events to christen the start of the state’s largest economic development project, the Savannah Economic Development Authority told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

A formal groundbreaking with media will take place in the morning, while a community event will happen from 11:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. to cap off a day of festivities. The community event, which will be at Enmarket Arena in Savannah, will feature “further announcements,” and Hyundai will “showcase its latest product and technologies,” according to a news release.

Hyundai announced in May its plans to build the gigantic EV factory on a government-owned megasite along I-16, about 30 minutes west of Savannah. The plant is expected to employ 8,100.

But recent changes to federal EV tax credits caused concern in Georgia economic development circles that Hyundai might rethink or scale down its plans.

The Democrats’ climate and health care bill, signed into law by President Joe Biden over the summer, requires all EV automakers to undergo final assembly in North America to qualify for consumer tax credits up to $7,500 for each vehicle, among other stipulations. Hyundai, which currently manufactures all of its electric vehicles overseas, was among the automakers upset about the change.

Though automakers generally support the legislation, which is designed to boost domestic EV manufacturing, companies like Hyundai were not expecting their current vehicles to lose eligibility prior to the start of production at their new North American factories.

U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, who championed the climate law, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, recently introduced a bill to tweak the tax credit policy to delay the final assembly provision from going into effect until after Hyundai’s factory is built and operational. Hyundai expects to begin manufacturing in Bryan County in 2025.

Under fire from Republicans, Warnock also wrote a letter to the Treasury Department urging flexibility in implementation of the new tax credit rules.

State and local officials wooed the South Korean automaker to Georgia using an incentive package valued at more than $1.8 billion. As part of that agreement, Hyundai committed to having its suppliers invest $1 billion in Georgia manufacturing operations.

But few industry experts have expected Hyundai to drastically change its plans.

Last week, Hyundai Mobis announced it will invest $1.3 billion in the U.S. by building an EV components factory. While it isn’t confirmed for Georgia, Korean news outlets reported it will be located near the forthcoming Bryan County factory. Two people with knowledge on the developments but who were not authorized to speak also told the AJC that Georgia is among the states under consideration for the Mobis parts plant.

Mobis already operates a factory in West Point near a Kia manufacturing plant, another one of Hyundai’s subsidiaries. Mobis also has plants in Alabama and Michigan, but this upcoming factory will be the company’s first EV components plant in the U.S. The components and modules manufactured in the factory will be supplied to Hyundai Motor and Kia EV facilities in the U.S.