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Kia EV9 "electric Telluride" concept.

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Kia Moves Start Of Electric Car Production In US Forward To 2024

News reports out of South Korea indicate that Kia may move the start of production at its new factory in Georgia forward to 2024.

Earlier this year, Kia announced it was talking with officials in Georgia about building a factory for making electric cars near Savannah. As originally planned, it would start producing cars in 2025, beginning with the Kia EV9 and Hyundai Ioniq 7, both of which are capacious 7-passenger electric SUVs that should get lots of interest from American car buyers.

Then the Inflation Reduction Act happened and Kia suddenly found itself cut off from federal tax credits for its cars because they are not manufactured in the US. Now Reuters reports that news sources in South Korea are claiming production at the new Georgia factory will begin in 2024 instead of 2025. Kia and its parent company Hyundai Motors, along with officials in South Korea, are protesting the new law and imploring the Biden administration to provide relief from the IRA until the companies can start producing electric vehicles in America.

There are a lot of jobs involved. Kia says the new $5 billion factory in Georgia will employ 8,500 workers when it ramps up to full capacity. It seems likely officials in Georgia are also on the phone to Washington asking the government to cut Kia some slack.

Is the announcement that the factory will begin production earlier than expected an attempt to curry favor with the Biden administration? What do you think?

Kia EV6

Image courtesy of Kia

Inside EVs says that while Kia’s primary goal is to ensure consumers can take advantage of the federal tax credit when they purchase its EVs, there are other obvious benefits. Kia has become known as a manufacturer that produces compelling EVs and its vehicles are widely successful. The biggest issue in the US to date has been the lack of availability of Kia’s electric and plug-in hybrid models. Moving EV production to the States could help Kia deliver more EVs to keep up with the growing demand.

“This really is huge news,” Inside EVs says, “since it could mean an eventual onslaught of more affordable EVs in the US coupled with the tax credit that will make them even more affordable. It’s moves like this that will significantly boost EV adoption in the US, so it looks like it will be a win for lawmakers and Americans.”

As we said in August, policies matter, and while the Inflation Reduction Act is far from perfect, it is accomplishing one of its primary goals, which is bring back some of the manufacturing jobs that fled to other countries over the past 30 years of globalization. That’s good news for American workers.

 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

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