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Ever wonder why new factories seem to crop up in Southern states?

Shocker, Hyundai didn't move to Calif, Chicago or NY? Tesla just moved it's HQ to Austin, Tx.

So what's the attraction to Southern states? Pro business governments, less regulations, right to work policies, lower taxes, cost of living. Is this sucking GDP and human capital away from Democratic leaning states up North? No....why would you think that?

Hyundai Plans $5.5 Billion Factory Complex in Georgia for Electric Vehicles

Facility, expected to open in 2025, will be the auto-making group’s first plant dedicated exclusively to EVs

By Ryan FeltonFollow

Updated May 20, 2022 4:38 pm ET

Hyundai Motor Group HYMLY 0.00%▲ said Friday it plans to build a $5.5 billion manufacturing complex in Georgia dedicated to making electric vehicles, the latest in a wave of new auto-factory investment flowing to the U.S. South.

The new Hyundai plant is expected to break ground early next year and open in the first half of 2025, making battery-powered models that will be revealed at a later date, the company said.

When fully ramped up, the factory will be capable of churning out 300,000 vehicles a year, Hyundai said.

Like other car companies, Hyundai is moving to expand its electric-vehicle offerings with plans to roll out 23 battery-powered models by 2025.

It already has two auto factories in the U.S.—a Hyundai plant in Alabama and one dedicated to Kia 000270 2.19%▲ in Georgia—but those make gasoline-powered vehicles. The last time the Hyundai Motor Group opened a new plant in the U.S. was in 2009.

The South Korean auto-making giant sells vehicles under two car companies, Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp. It aims to be among the U.S.’s top three EV providers by 2026 and says the new plant will be critical to helping it achieve this goal.

The auto industry’s emphasis on electric vehicles is sparking a factory-building boom in the U.S. with much of the investments going to southern states such as Georgia and Tennessee, further shifting the sector’s center of gravity from Midwestern auto-manufacturing strongholds.

The latest electric vehicles offer the power to charge household devices or other EVs using the energy stored in the car’s battery. WSJ’s George Downs explores how some companies are developing vehicle-to-grid technology that would enable energy to flow from the EV into the electricity grid itself. Illustration: George Downs

In December, electric-vehicle startup Rivian Automotive Inc. selected Georgia to build its second assembly factory, a $5 billion complex expected to create 7,500 jobs and build 400,000 vehicles a year. The Rivian plant is scheduled to open in 2024.

Ford Motor Co. also said last fall it was picking two southern states, Kentucky and Tennessee, for a $7 billion investment into electric-vehicle manufacturing with Korean battery maker SK Innovation. In Tennessee, it plans to build an auto-assembly plant—its first new one in the U.S. in decades—that will make electric pickups starting in 2025.

Ford’s Chief Executive Jim Farley said the auto maker picked Tennessee in part because it offered a fresh site, is close to its other factories and the region has lower energy costs. Battery plants use many times more energy in their operations than traditional auto-assembly factories.

Until recently, only a few new auto-assembly plants have been built in the U.S. over the last few decades, including a Volvo factory in South Carolina and one that recently opened in Detroit that makes Jeeps.

Hyundai said Friday it picked Georgia because of its proximity to suppliers and easy access to major U.S. cities. The manufacturing complex will be the group’s first to be dedicated exclusively to building EVs and occupy a 2,923-acre site in southeast Georgia, the company said.

Auto executives overall have become more bullish about EV demand in the coming years. EVs will account for an estimated 16% of U.S. vehicle sales in 2025, according to projections by S&P Global Mobility, formerly the automotive group at IHS Markit. Auto makers, including Ford, General Motors Co. and Jeep-maker Stellantis N.V., have said they would aim to make EVs account for 40% to 50% of their U.S. sales by 2030, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Hyundai’s planned facility also comes as auto makers have begun introducing high-profile electric-vehicle models in the U.S. Last month, Ford began producing the Lightning, a battery-powered version of the F-150, America’s bestselling vehicle for decades, ahead of rival GM, whose electric Chevrolet Silverado is slated to arrive next year.

Appeared in the May 21, 2022, print edition as 'Hyundai To Build EV Factory In Georgia'.

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