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Hyundai ahead of schedule on construction of first dedicated EV plant, production start

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Production of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles at the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America in Georgia has been moved up by a quarter to begin in Q4 of this year. The grand opening is slated for Q1 2025.

Hyundai says the Metaplant is still hiring and has developed educational partnerships with area colleges to create a pipeline for future employment.

The Electric Vehicle Professional Technical Certificate (EVP TCC) being offered at four area technical colleges is an example of the collaboration. Students who complete the program receive preferred status when applying for a position at Metaplant.

Metaplant is Hyundai Motor Group’s first dedicated EV mass-production plant and is located in Bryan County, Georgia. The new plant will have a highly connected, automated, and flexible manufacturing system, which organically connects all elements of the EV ecosystem to realize customer value, Hyundai said in a news release.

The Georgia facility will become an intelligent manufacturing plant. All processes of production—order collection, procurement, logistics, and production—will be optimized with artificial intelligence (AI) and data, Hyundai said. The OEM says the manufacturing system will help create a human-centered work environment with robots assisting human workers.

On Monday, Gov. Brian P. Kemp, First Lady Marty A. Kemp, and Hyundai Motor Co. leadership celebrated the economic impact the plant will have on the state with “Hyundai Day” at the state capitol. The state General Assembly also passed a resolution commending Hyundai for its dedication to Georgia and recognizing Feb. 26, 2024 as “Hyundai Day.”

Hyundai and Genesis electric vehicles (EVs), including the IONIQ 5, IONIQ 6, GV60, and Electrified GV70 as well as the hydrogen-powered XCIENT Fuel Cell Truck were on display outside the state capitol. They’ll be used for logistics needs between Hyundai’s manufacturing facilities and suppliers.

“Georgia is like a second home to us,” said José Muñoz, Hyundai Motor president and global COO/Hyundai and Genesis North America president. “On behalf of all of us at Hyundai Motor Group, we are very proud that Hyundai’s investments in Georgia will create tens of thousands of great paying American jobs and bring tens of billions of dollars in economic impact for decades to come. Thank you to our partners and to the great people of Georgia for your support and for making us feel so much at home.”

Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, House Speaker Jon Burns, other legislative leaders from both chambers, Department of Economic Development Director Pat Wilson, local elected and economic officials from the Savannah Harbor-Interstate 16 Corridor Joint Development Authority, and numerous company representatives also echoed the significance of the statewide impact.

Hyundai Motor Group is investing $7.59 billion to develop Metaplant, which will create 8,500 direct jobs. Hyundai and SK On are building a $5 billion EV battery cell plant in Bartow County, Georgia that will employ 3,500 workers.

According to a recent Center for Automotive Research study, Hyundai’s investments in Georgia are expected to create nearly 40,000 jobs and create $4.6 billion in individual earnings every year.

Hyundai is also actively developing a hydrogen mobility value chain at Metaplant as announced at CES 2024.

Through the Clean Logistics Project in the state, the Metaplant will utilize XCIENT Fuel Cell tractors to manage the logistics of the plant and its suppliers. XCIENT is Hyundai’s commercialized class 8 6×4 fuel cell electric model that has a proven record of real-world application and technological reliability around the world with more than 6.25 million accumulated miles, according to Hyundai.

Hyundai is developing hydrogen refueling infrastructure needed to support the new fuel cell activity. The collaboration is anticipated to stimulate economic growth and create more job opportunities within the state.

Rivian has also been developing a footprint in Georgia.

The EV OEM will build its next manufacturing facility, with an annual capacity of 400,000 vehicles when fully complete, at the Stanton Springs North site about 40 minutes from Atlanta across Morgan and Walton Counties. For several months last year, Georgia and the Joint Development Authority of Jasper, Morgan, Newton, and Walton Counties have worked with state and local partners to prepare the site for Rivian’s arrival.

Rivian expects to hold a formal groundbreaking ceremony sometime early this year.

To connect with the community and provide the opportunity to see the EVs up close, Rivian opened a space in Atlanta at Ponce City Market. The progress of the plant and upcoming milestones are also provided there.

In October, Rivian launched a new apprenticeship program to support the development of trained staff at the plant.

The program recruits for future industrial maintenance needs through a 24-month, in-depth training period. Local Georgia community colleges can accelerate in-person learning for 24 weeks, after which all apprentices will travel to Rivian’s plant in Normal, Illinois for 12-18 months of on-the-job training, a requirement of the apprenticeship program.

Program tuition will be covered by Georgia’s HOPE Grants with incremental expenses (textbooks, materials, et cetera) paid for by Rivian. Throughout the program duration, all participants will be paid employees as maintenance technicians for Rivian. Graduated apprentices will relocate to Stanton Springs North to support production and operations at Rivian’s future facility.

The first class began earlier this month. There are 26 students.

Rivian launched its Technical Trades Program in 2021. The first cohort of employees is already contributing to the R1 line in Normal, Illinois.


Featured image: Jim Park, Hyundai North America commercial vehicle and hydrogen business development senior vice president; José Muñoz, Hyundai Motor Co. president and global COO/Hyundai and Genesis president and CEO; Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp; First Lady Marty A. Kemp; Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and Trip Tollison, Savannah Economic Development Authority president and CEO stand in front of Hyundai’s XCIENT fuel cell tractor during “Hyundai Day” at the Georgia state capitol on Feb. 26, 2024.

An aerial view of the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America, which is currently under construction in Georgia. (Credit: Hyundai)

José Muñoz, Hyundai Motor president and global COO/Hyundai and Genesis North America president, speaks with Gov. Brian P. Kemp and First Lady Marty A. Kemp at the state capitol on Feb. 26, 2024. (Credit: Hyundai)

A look inside the Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America that is under construction in Georgia. (Credit: Hyundai)

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