Hyundai's US EV Push Hinges Heavily On Incentive Structure

At InsideEVs, we’ve often given Hyundai and Kia credit for their EV push. Hyundai is already doing more for EVs than many other companies, and it has the potential to rival Tesla in the future. This is because the brand already produces multiple plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, and its upcoming electric vehicles, such as the Ioniq 5, are quite compelling. 

That said, Hyundai CEO Jose Muñoz made it clear in a recent interview that Hyundai Motor North America’s U.S. investments will be highly dependent on what happens with the US federal EV incentives going forward.

It comes as no surprise that Hyundai has joined Toyota and Volkswagen in publicly opposing the Biden Administration’s plans to give extra tax incentives to unionized rivals. If this happens, it’s not a level playing field, and it may mean automakers like Hyundai wouldn’t be wise to up EV investments on our shores. Muñoz share with Automotive News:

“Everything is on the table with a situation like this, so we will see.”

Hyundai already receives criticism for not producing its EVs and plug-in hybrids in large numbers for the North American market, in addition to the fact that some of the vehicles are only for sale in select states, and nearly impossible to get elsewhere. 

The CEO has a goal to sell 1 million EVs worldwide by 2030. It would be fantastic if many of those EVs were sold on our shores, in greater numbers, and with widespread availability. However, Hyundai’s plan to transition to a strong leader in the EV space, and to begin to push harder with EVs in the US, may be stifled if the federal incentives favor unions. Muñoz continued:

“We would like to achieve the 40 to 50 percent [EV] Biden administration objective by 2030, so we are fully in to achieve that. But again we will have to wait and see.”

Muñoz also made it clear that he might be ok with a smaller additional incentive for US domestic automakers, though $4,500 is massive, especially considering the current credit is $7,500, and the new “base” credit is supposed to be $8,000. 

Hyundai’s CEO is on board with incentives, in general, and said they could lead to a much faster adoption curve. However, the current proposal picks and chooses which automakers to support, which could hinder EV adoption in the US.


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