Hyundai considering hybrid vehicle production at $7.6 billion Georgia EV plant

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Jose Munoz, chief performance officer of Nissan Motor Co., speaks during the 2018 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, Jan. 15, 2018.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

NEW YORK – Hyundai Motor is reevaluating its plans to exclusively produce all-electric vehicles at a new plant under construction in Georgia, an executive told CNBC on Wednesday.

José Muñoz, Hyundai president and global chief operating officer, said the company is evaluating whether or not to produce hybrid or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at the $7.59 billion plant in addition to all-electric vehicles.  

“We are now getting ready for a ramp-up on electric vehicles and then we are evaluating if we need to maybe add some additional technologies into the plan depending on the market evaluation,” Muñoz said on the sidelines of the New York International Auto Show.

The reassessment comes amid slower-than-excepted adoption of EVs, as well as the Biden administration revising emissions rules to better take into account hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles rather than a focus on all-electric vehicles.

Hyundai is in the middle of investing $12.6 billion in Georgia, including for the new Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America site in Bryan County and battery manufacturing through joint ventures with fellow South Korea-based companies LG Energy Solution and a separate facility with SK On.

Muñoz said Hyundai remains committed to EVs but also knows hybrids and plug-in hybrid vehicles may be better for some consumers.  

“Everything is on the table,” Muñoz said. “We will adjust to the market demand and, for the time being, we are on track for what the regulators are requesting.”

Hyundai on Wednesday revealed a refreshed Tucson crossover that will be offered as a traditional gas engine, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

“I think the PHEV is a key strategic topic for us. We’ve been one of the pioneers on PHEV and I think we want to take advantage of that,” Muñoz said. “But hybrid is very important … our hybrid production in growing. There’s a high demand for it. So you’re going to see an increase in the mix of hybrids in Hyundai as well.”

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