A robotic dog toasts champagne and the governor of Georgia and a junior US senator shared a brief bipartisan celebration ahead of the high-stakes election as Hyundai Motor Group broke ground on Tuesday. The first factory in the United States to specialize in the production of electric vehicles.
Just 5 months after Hyundai announced the $ 5.5 billion figure factory in Bryan County west of Savannah, large areas of the site were cleared of trees. Euisun Chung, executive chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, said the plant would be the envy of the industry.
The Korean company plans to open a factory in 2025, with at least 8,100 employees, producing up to 300,000 won tram each year. Georgia officials say it is the largest economic development the state has ever seen.
“This is transformative for the region, not only for the children of the residents now but also for their grandchildren,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “This will be a project that will resonate for generations to come.”
The timing couldn’t be better for Kemp, a Republican and Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock. The ground-breaking ceremony was held two weeks before the November 8 election, in which both men faced formidable challenges at the top of the ballot.
After a yellow and black robotic dog handed a champagne flute to Kemp and top Hyundai executives to toast, officials joined other dignitaries to pick up buckets to turn spoons into. ceremonial land. Afterwards, Kemp and Warnock had a brief handshake.
“I’d like to see more of this kind of partnership, quite frankly,” said Warnock, whose run against Republican Herschel Walker will help determine which party controls the US Senate. “At the end of the day, we want to see more jobs in Georgia.”
Kemp, facing an Election Day rematch with Democrat Stacey Abrams, worked with state and local officials to lure Hyundai to Georgia with a $1.8 billion package of tax breaks and incentives. USD.
President Joe Biden also sees boosting US production and sales of electric vehicles as an important part of his strategy to slow climate change and add manufacturing jobs. The White House recently announced a $2.8 billion grant to boost EV battery production in 12 states.
A sweeping climate and health care bill passed by congressional Democrats in August also includes incentives for the production and purchase of electric vehicles, including tax credits for car buyers. electricity up to $7,500.
However, the tax credit has put some strain on Hyundai’s dealings with Washington. Changes made by Congress to the tax credit limit eligibility only to electric vehicles manufactured in North America. That means Hyundai EVs will no longer be eligible until the company starts production in Georgia.
South Korea’s ambassador to the US told dignitaries at Tuesday’s event that his country believes the revised EV tax credit unfairly excludes Hyundai because of its commitment to expand production of electric vehicles in the country. America.
Ambassador Tae-yong Cho said: “Korean companies are now at risk of being disadvantaged by the electric vehicle tax credit regulation. “I believe it’s not good for Korea’s partnership, for the state of Georgia, and not even for our common goal. climate change by limiting consumer choice. “
Warnock voted in favor of the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes an amended tax credit. He defended the law as a whole, saying it showed the US was seriously investing in electric vehicle production. Meanwhile, he has introduced a bill that could push back the tax credit amendment’s effective date. He also asked the Treasury to use “maximum flexibility” in passing regulations to implement the new criteria.
“I will continue to work with Ambassador Cho as well as with other officials to do everything I can to finalize what has become a clear victory,” Warnock said after Tuesday’s ceremony.
While Georgia officials lauded the Hyundai project, the state’s other big deal for a $5 billion EV plant east of Atlanta ran into deeper problems.
Last year, electric truck maker Rivian announced plans to hire 7,500 workers in Georgia. But a Morgan County judge last month overruled local government‘a plan to exempt Rivian an estimated $700 million in property tax, with the company agreeing to pay $300 million in taxes. State and local officials are considering appealing the judge’s decision.
The property tax relief is a major part of a $1.2 billion incentive offered to Rivian, a California automaker that has seen the value of its stock plummet in the past year. this year and recently announced a large sum. Recall Loose fastening may affect the driver’s ability to drive.
When asked on Tuesday if he thinks Rivian’s Georgia plant will continue, Kemp said: “I’m very confident.”
“The vast majority of people want the Rivian project to come,” the governor said, adding: “We’re very excited about the entire electric vehicle market here in Georgia.”
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