Hyundai, Kia confirm first US-made EVs: $7,500 tax credit eligible?

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Hyundai on Friday confirmed its first EV for U.S. production, while the automaker’s Kia brand began U.S. EV production that same day. But neither brand is discussing eligibility for the $7,500 federal tax credit quite yet.

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 will be the first model produced at the automaker’s EV “Metaplant” near Savannah, Georgia, Jose Muñoz, CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, said in an interview with Automotive News. U.S. assembly is slated to start in October under a stepped-up U.S. EV timeline Hyundai announced last year.

Kia EV manufacturing in Georgia

“It absolutely is the bestseller,” Muñoz said of the decision to kick off U.S. EV production with the Ioniq 5. “So I think it is a no-brainer that it needs to be that one.”

Hyundai plans to ramp up to as many as 300,000 EVs (and battery packs) a year at the new Georgia plant, part of a $7.6 billion manufacturing complex that also includes a joint-venture battery plant run with LG Energy Solution. The opening of the battery plant will lag the assembly plant by about a year, Muñoz told Automotive News, adding that in the meantime Hyundai will source batteries from an SK On factory in Hungary.

2024 Kia EV9

2024 Kia EV9

The factory will eventually build six models across the Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis brands, according to Automotive News. Hyundai confirmed in April that, despite initial plans to make this a dedicated EV plant, it would make hybrids too. Genesis, the luxury brand of the Hyundai Motor Group, is already building its Electrified GV70 electric SUV at another plant in Alabama as well.

While some Kia EVs will be made at the Metaplant, the Kia EV9 started production Friday at the automaker’s existing facility in West Point, Georgia.

EVs produced at either plant will be up against tighter rules regarding battery and battery raw material origins, so it’s unclear as of yet whether these initial models will qualify for the full $7,500.

“More details and specifics will come closer to production,” said Hyundai Motor America to Green Car Reports.

Kia did earlier last year anticipate last year that U.S.-built EV9s will qualify for the tax credit. But that was prior to federal guidance, issued in December, that started applying January 2024 and limited foreign content to an expanded list of “low-value” battery components. Green Car Reports has reached out to Kia for comment on whether they expect to qualify for the tax credit from the outset, in whole or in part, with these newly U.S.-made EVs.

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