Hyundai converts Kia’s main plant to mass-produce electric vehicle models

Hyundai Motor Group has announced it will mass-produce battery electric vehicles at Kia Autoland Slovakia, one of the automaker’s main factories, kicking off its European EV campaign.

Hyundai and Kia electric vehicles are currently being built on a large scale at its electric vehicle plant in Indonesia and a joint plant in South Korea that also produces traditional cars.

However, earlier this year, Hyundai announced that it would build its first dedicated electric vehicle factory in its home country, meeting growing demand for its zero-emission vehicles around the world. Hyundai has announced that it will inaugurate the South Korean plant next year, with mass production starting in 2025.

Meanwhile, growing demand for zero-emission electric vehicles in the United States sparked interest from the South Korean automaker earlier this year.

Hyundai announced plans to build its first dedicated electric vehicle factory in the United States in May, with early 2023 as the target to begin construction. However, after passing historic climate initiatives, introducing a new set of tax credits for electric vehicles, Hyundai has accelerated its US strategy.

The automaker’s electric vehicle models, including the award-winning Hyundai IONIQ 5 and Kia EV6, were qualified before the new set of rules, but stringent battery sourcing and assembly requirements would disqualify them at the end of the year.

Hyundai acted quickly, beginning construction of its $5.5 billion electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Bryon County, Georgia on October 25.

While Hyundai Motor Group has tackled its booming domestic market in the United States, the South Korean automaker has so far not clearly defined its European strategy.

Hyundai IONIQ5 (Source: Hyundai)

Hyundai and Kia EV models are coming to Europe

According to a report from Business Korea, Hyundai Motor Group has chosen its Kia Slovakia plant to lead its shift in the lucrative European electric vehicle market.

Kia Autoland, located in Zilina, Slovakia, is one of the main manufacturing plants of Hyundai which began operations in 2006, reaching 4 million cumulative production in 2021. The plant has started rolling out hybrid vehicles such as the Sportage PHEV in February, but the facility will start “mass producing” pure battery electric vehicles for Europe from 2025.

The report also notes that Kia plans to manufacture small and midsize electric vehicles explicitly designed for the European market.

Europe has officially banned sales of new combustion vehicles after 2035 as the EV market continues to grow, so Hyundai’s strategy makes sense.

Hyundai and Kia expect 100% of their European sales to be electrified models by 2035, in line with the new ban on combustion vehicles. In the third quarter of 2022, Hyundai’s electric vehicle sales rose 27% to around 52,000, fueled by the release of the Hyundai IONIQ 6 and Genesis GV60, while its IONIQ5 model continues to see strong demand.

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