The Biden administration is proposing an array of policy measures to encourage the sale of electric cars in the US — provided they are built in the US by American workers. GM has responded to the administration’s plans by announcing it will spend $1 billion to expand its factory in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico so it can manufacture EV powertrains and electric cars there in the future. According to the Detroit Free Press, that announcement has the UAW up in arms and calling for protections for American workers in any incentive legislation.
In fairness to GM, it is spending nearly $9 billion to make 4 US and 1 Canadian factory ready to build electric vehicles, but the decision to take advantage of government programs meant to benefit US workers by diverting some of the benefits to Mexico still rankles lots of people.
Hyundai Group is taking a different approach. On May 13, the company announced it plans “to invest $7.4 billion in the U.S. by 2025 to produce future EVs, enhance production facilities, and further its investments in smart mobility solutions.” That investment is meant to enhance overall product competitiveness by prioritizing future mobility technologies, including electrification and hydrogen energy, according to the company.
José Muñoz, CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, said, “I am excited to make this announcement on behalf of the Hyundai Motor Group. This investment demonstrates our deep commitment to the U.S. market, our dealers and customers. Hyundai will lead the future of mobility in the United States and around the world. Our efforts are proof positive that Hyundai will continue to pursue excellence in our current and future product line-up.”
Sean Yoon, CEO of Kia North America, added, “One key element of Kia’s transformation is transitioning from internal combustion engine to electrification. With our strategic investment in the United States to produce EV models, we are making huge strides to lead the EV market but also increase our contribution to the economies where we do business.” The company says its investments are designed to expand its EV manufacturing footprint to satisfy U.S. market demands. It plans to offer a suite of American made electric vehicles to U.S. consumers starting next year.
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But wait, there’s more. The press release goes on to say the company will be working with the US government and other business partners to expand the US hydrogen energy ecosystem and is committed to fostering a hydrogen society to create new business opportunities for a sustainable future.
Later this year, Hyundai will proceed with a demonstration project that will lead to the commercialization of fuel cell electric trucks that will operate primarily between port and inland warehouses in southern California. It is also working with Cummins to accelerate deployment of fuel cell electric systems in the US market.
And Hyundai is not done yet. Hyundai Motor Group will launch a subsidiary in Washington, D.C. that will focus on urban air mobility with an eye toward revolutionizing the mobility experience. It has already taken an 80% stake in Boston Dynamics, the company that makes the intriguing dancing dog robot.
Finally, Hyundai Group has created a joint venture called Motional with Aptiv, a US mobility technology company. The joint venture will focus on commercializing driverless technology and has obtained the industry’s first driverless license in the state of Nevada. It will begin testing a specially equipped Hyundai Ioniq 5 later this year as it moves forward with a plan to launch a robotaxi service in conjunction with Lyft in 2023.
Whew, that’s a lot of stuff going on in the world of Hyundai and all of it concentrated on products and services for Americans by Americans, which should position it nicely to get the maximum advantage from whatever clean transportation programs are forthcoming from Washington.