Why Hyundai’s North American CEO says ‘everything is on the table’ for U.S. EV investment

LOS ANGELES — Hyundai Motor North America’s U.S. investments in electric vehicle manufacturing will be greatly influenced by the structure of federal incentives for EVs, CEO Jose Muñoz said in an interview.

The company has publicly opposed a proposal to provide $4,500 more in tax credits for electric vehicles made by unionized workers in the U.S. than for other EVs. Such a large disparity calls into question the company’s plans to invest in EV manufacturing in the U.S.

“Everything is on the table with a situation like this, so we will see,” he told Automotive News at the auto show here.

Muñoz said Hyundai, which aims to sell 1 million EVs a year globally by 2030, is fully committed to the technology.

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

A smaller subsidy for domestic manufacturers could possibly be overcome, he said, but a $4,500 difference is “huge,” he said.

“It’s making us think before we take a decision – we need to wait and see what is going to happen.”

The company’s U.S. assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala., has a non-union workforce.

Government incentives and recently approved increases in infrastructure spending will help increase adoption of EVs in the U.S., Muñoz said. The Hyundai brand’s Ioniq 5 electric crossover will go on sale very soon, he said, and the company revealed its Seven concept at the show Wednesday.

“There is going to be a much faster adoption curve, in my view, that’s supported by the infrastructure and the incentives,” he said.