Kia’s Gwangmyeong plant completes upgrade for electric vehicle production

The Gwangmyeong plant, previously producing vehicles for export, underwent significant upgrades to accommodate the production of electric cars. Kia aims to diversify its EV lineup, which currently includes the mid-sized EV5, EV6, and large-sized EV9, with the introduction of the smaller EV3 and EV4.

South Korean automaker Kia, a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Group, is set to resume operations at its second auto manufacturing plant in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province, following an eight-month refurbishment aimed at transitioning the facility for electric vehicle (EV) production. The upgraded plant, once fully operational in February, will focus on manufacturing new battery-powered models, including the small-sized SUV EV3 and mid-sized sedan EV4, with an annual capacity of 150,000 units.

The Gwangmyeong plant, previously producing vehicles for export, underwent significant upgrades to accommodate the production of electric cars. Kia aims to diversify its EV lineup, which currently includes the mid-sized EV5, EV6, and large-sized EV9, with the introduction of the smaller EV3 and EV4. The new models are expected to offer customers more affordable options, with price projections of around 40 million won ($29,900) for EV3 and 30 million won for EV4, excluding government subsidies for eco-friendly vehicles.

Industry observers note that Kia’s competitive pricing strategy, coupled with enhanced performance, could position the company favourably in the global EV market, especially considering the ongoing price competition led by companies like Tesla and BYD.

Kia’s Gwangmyeong plant is heralded as Hyundai Motor Group’s first production base exclusively dedicated to EVs. The facility incorporates innovative manufacturing technologies developed by the Hyundai Motor Group Innovation Center in Singapore. These technologies include automation processes driven by artificial intelligence and robotics, digital twin-connected systems, data-based operating systems, and low-carbon manufacturing practices.

Kia CEO Song Ho-sung emphasized that the upgraded plant would significantly improve production quality, aiming for 95% of products to pass quality tests during the manufacturing process. The plant’s advancements align with Hyundai Motor’s broader EV transition strategy, with Kia setting ambitious targets of selling over 1 million EVs in 2026, a substantial increase from the 250,000 units sold in the previous year. The company envisions selling more than 1.6 million EVs by 2030.

Looking ahead, Kia plans to commence the production of purpose-built vehicles (PBVs), customized autonomous driving cars running on an EV platform, at its Hwaseong plant in Gyeonggi Province starting next year. The company is also in negotiations with its labour union to potentially establish a new factory dedicated to PBVs in the same region, further solidifying its commitment to cutting-edge automotive technologies.