Hyundai is opening its electric-car "Metaplant" in Georgia this year, with on-site battery production and capacity to build up to 300,000 vehicles. Now we know that the first vehicle produced there will be the Hyundai Ioniq 5.

"It absolutely is the bestseller," Hyundai U.S. CEO Jose Muñoz told Automotive News. "So I think it is a no-brainer that it needs to be that one." 

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The Revised Tax Credit Incentivizes U.S. Production

Revised federal rules require U.S. production for EVs to be eligible for the $7,500 clean vehicle tax credit. Since the new rule was announced, we've seen even more investment from foreign automakers in U.S.-based EV production. Hyundai's big project is its "Metafactory" in Georgia, which should open soon.

The Ioniq 5 is one of the best EVs on the market. It offers up to 303 miles and a compelling design, with a great interior and solid dynamics. Thanks to its 800-volt-class architecture, it can also sustain higher charging rates than most competitors, charging from 10 to 80% in just 18 minutes on a 350-kW charger. And because it plays in the red-hot compact SUV segment, it's far more popular than Hyundai's other standout, the Ioniq 6 sedan.

Hyundai sold over 30,000 Ioniq 5s in 2023, and sales have picked up so far this year. But one thing working against the Ioniq 5 is the fact that U.S.-market examples are built in South Korea, making it ineligible for the federal EV tax credit when purchased. People who lease Ioniq 5s can still take advantage of the $7,500 credit—resulting in some great deals—but purchasers have to rely on Hyundai's heavy incentives to drive the price down. 

The good news is that should change when Ioniq 5s start rolling off the line in Georgia. Muñoz says that the plant is on track to open in October. And while the short-term payoff for Ioniq 5 shoppers will be great, the long-term payoff for the market will be even better. Hyundai, Kia and Genesis make some of the best EVs available in America, but most of them—besides the Kia EV9 and Genesis Electrified GV70—are built outside of the U.S., making them ineligible for tax credits.

Hyundai, Kia and Genesis have seemed more than willing to subsidize the current lineup to keep them competitive, but having U.S. production will make one of the most innovative EV companies even more competitive here. And with more money from the federal government, any incentive money Hyundai adds on top will make the deals even sweeter.

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