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Hyundai Motor, Georgia Tech team up for future mobility

Hyundai chief bolsters ties with US state, following footsteps of his father’s legacy

Sept. 20, 2023 - 15:44 By Kan Hyeong-woo
Representatives from Hyundai Motor Group and the Georgia Institute of Technology,, including Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun (third from right) and Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera (second from left), pose for a photo during a memorandum of understanding signing ceremony at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Tuesday. (Hyundai Motor Group)

Hyundai Motor Group has joined hands with the Georgia Institute of Technology, better known as Georgia Tech, to develop future mobility technologies such as battery, hydrogen and software, the South Korean automaker announced Wednesday.

According to the announcement, representatives from Hyundai Motor and Georgia Tech including Hyundai Motor Group Executive Chair Chung Euisun and Hyundai Motor Company CEO Chang Jae-hoon signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on research and development to support the future of sustainable mobility and nurture talent at Georgia Tech on Tuesday in the US.

“On behalf of all of us at Hyundai Motor Group, we are thrilled to create a partnership with Georgia Tech that includes research and applications to support the future of sustainable mobility, hydrogen economy, workforce development and smart cities, among many other areas of cooperation,” said Chang.

“Today is the beginning of a partnership that will last for decades, and this partnership is one of the reasons why we chose Georgia for our (electric vehicle) investments.”

Hyundai Motor Group has a cumulative investment of $12.6 billion in Georgia’s EV and battery manufacturing facilities. This includes the $7.59 billion Hyundai Motor Group Metaplant America (HMGMA) site in Bryan County and the $5 billion joint venture battery manufacturing plant with SK On in Bartow County. According to Hyundai, the proximity of these facilities to Georgia Tech was one of the essential considerations in deciding their locations.

The automaker said the Georgia Tech partnership reflects Chung’s will to highlight the significance of cooperating with leading universities across the globe.

Hyundai Motor Group’s relationship with Georgia also dates back to the past leadership of now Honorary Chairman Chung Mong-Koo, the father of Chung Euisun.

In 2006, Chung Mong-koo, who was then Hyundai Motor Group's executive chair, and Chung Euisun, who was the president of Hyundai's sister firm Kia, picked Georgia’s West Point as the site for Kia’s first US assembly plant. The Kia Georgia plant has produced over 4 million vehicles since it began production in 2009.

Sonny Perdue, the University System of Georgia chancellor who participated in Tuesday’s memorandum ceremony, was the governor of Georgia at the time of the Kia Georgia plant’s opening.

“Like Georgia Tech, Hyundai is a global brand that is synonymous with quality, innovation and a commitment to advancing technology to make a positive difference in the world,” said Georgia Tech President Angel Cabrera.

“I look forward to working with Hyundai leaders to deepen our partnership as we work to develop exceptional leaders and produce new ideas that will shape the automotive industry and advance mobility in the future.”

With the new partnership, Hyundai will take part in career recruitment events at Georgia Tech and create learning programs for undergraduate and graduate students. As the automaker decided to sponsor Georgia Tech’s athletics department, the school’s football field has been renamed Bobby Dodd Stadium at Hyundai Field.

Meanwhile, Jose Munoz, Hyundai Motor Company’s global chief operating officer, told reporters on the sidelines of the memorandum signing ceremony that the automaker is working to speed up the construction of the HMGMA and start production as early as possible to cope with the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act that offers up to $7,500 tax credits for buyers of EVs made in the US with domestically-produced batteries.

According to reports, Munoz said, “We are confident that the original date of January 2025 would be probably pulled ahead maybe three months or so.”