Automakers love making wild promises when it comes to EVs, but it appears that Kia might be one of the few that can keep them. Kia and Hyundai’s shared 'Metaplant' battery and EV plant in Georgia plant is nearly online. Similarly, the automaker expects to get one of its most important models, the EV9, on factory lines at its existing West Point, Georgia factory as soon as this May. 

Currently, the EV9 is made in South Korea and shipped over to the US. Because of the production location, the EV9 is not eligible for any non-lease federal EV tax incentives, which is a pretty big deal considering the EV9’s mega-sized price. But, when the EV9 enters production in Georgia, the foreign production lynchpin will be removed, enabling it to at least partially qualify for the $7,500 tax credit.

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Kia is Moving EV9 production to the US

The Kia EV9 is currently made in South Korea, making it ineligible for any purchase tax incentives. When the EV9 enters US production, it will qualify at least partially for a tax credit, making pricing even more competitive. 

Of course, politically things are still somewhat volatile, it’s not clear if the IRA’s rules will change this year especially if there is a huge change in the Presidential administration. Still, Kia remains optimistic: “We are anticipating at least half of the credit as we will be fulfilling the 'assembled in the U.S.' portion with the mid-2024 EV9s," Kia spokesperson James Bell told InsideEVs. "However, we are monitoring government updates before we can fully confirm."

Under the current Inflation Reduction Act rules, any tax credit qualifying EV must have a percentage of its battery materials sourced from a country not considered a “country of concern,” and the battery itself must be produced in North America.

As of this time, the EV9’s battery is still made in South Korea using Chinese battery parts. But, Kia says the new manufacturing plant will include an EV battery facility. It will go online a bit later, but when it does, the EV9 should qualify for the full $7,500 tax credit. Kia expects the EV9 to qualify for the full credit by 2025. 

Kia fully expects to slot the EV9 right into place this coming May. Bell says that the $200 million addition to its West Point, Georgia plant is 100% on time. The brand has been working the kinks out of US production by producing some pilot test EV9s since early 2024.

EV9 Live Photo

It’s almost heartwarming to see how Kia (and Hyundai) have followed through on their EV promises, and are bucking the narrative that EVs are a dead end. Hyundai recently claimed that its EV models are profitable, and it's not hard to assume the same is true of its corporate cousin. Kia claims that sales of the EV9 are healthy despite the lack of tax credits available on purchase.

The Hyundai Motor Group's Metaplant America broke ground only in late 2022, yet the automaking giant has somehow delivered on promises to get it running even sooner than anticipated. This is a far cry from other automakers and startups that have struggled to get their respective manufacturing facilities online and smoothly churn out vehicles.

On the consumer side, the EV9 is about to get a whole lot more competitive. Provided nothing changes too much by 2025, a base EV9 could cost as little as $48,895, putting it in direct competition with gas-powered three-row crossovers. Making the switch to electric is about to get a lot easier for families looking for a big car that can make all the school runs. 

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