Hyundai Motor has broken ground on a new plant in South Korea dedicated to electric vehicle (EV) production, with a new electric Genesis SUV to be the first vehicle produced there.
The company is calling it a hub for mobility production in the era of electrification.
Full-scale construction will begin this year and be completed in 2025, ahead of mass production commencing in the first quarter of 2026.
Located in Ulsan, it sits on a 548,000m2 site that used to house the company’s former proving ground, and will have capacity to produce 200,000 EVs per year.
The location is significant for Hyundai, as not only is Ulsan the heart of Korea’s automotive industry, it’s where Founding Chairman Ju-yung Chung established the company’s first major manufacturing base more than 50 years ago.
Hyundai is investing KRW 2 trillion (A$2.39 billion) in the project, which will be its first new plant in Korea since it opened its Asan plant in 1996.
It plans to apply an “innovative manufacturing platform” developed by the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS), with demand-driven, AI-based intelligent control systems.
Hyundai will use the new plant to establish a smart logistics system, which will include automated parts logistics and a flexible production system to diversify vehicle models.
It’ll also feature eco-friendly, low-carbon construction methods, use 100 per cent renewable energy, and feature “human-friendly” and “nature-friendly” facilities to reduce worker fatigue and encourage interaction with each other.
Hyundai says it’ll be a “departure from the dreary factory environment of heavy machinery”, and feature plenty of natural light, while the complex’s Central Park will become a rest area and a hub connecting each building.
It’s unclear which Genesis EV will be produced here, though the luxury brand will reportedly introduce a GV90 flagship – believed to have been teased in the above image – around mid-decade, and the GV80 is expected to get an electric powertrain with its next generation.
“The new EV-dedicated Plant in Ulsan is the beginning of a promising future for the next 50 years and the era of electrification. I am honoured to share our dream of a 100-year company here,” said Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Euisin Chung.
“Just as the dream of building the best car in the past made Ulsan an automotive city today, Hyundai will work together to make Ulsan an innovative mobility city that leads the way in the era of electrification, starting with a dedicated EV plant.”
The original Ulsan plant was established in 1968, initially assembling the Ford Cortina from completely knocked down (CKD) kits. It began producing its first unique vehicle, the Pony, in 1975.
It produced the company’s first EV, a concept based on the first front-wheel drive Sonata that featured a lead-acid battery and 71km of range. This was followed by EV concepts based on the Scoupe and Accent (Excel).
The complex consists of five separate factories, manufacturing a wide range of products from the budget Hyundai Venue all the way up to the flagship Genesis G90, with combustion, hydrogen fuel-cell, hybrid and electric vehicles coming down the assembly lines.