Hyundai Motor Company held a groundbreaking ceremony at its manufacturing complex in Ulsan for a new dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV) plant, as the company steps up its switch to zero emission vehicles.

The Ulsan complex, 300km (200 miles) south of Seoul, is the site of Hyundai Motor’s first mass production plant 50 years ago.

The new plant is expected to cost KRW2trn (US$1.5bn) will have capacity for 200,000 BEVs per year, with mass production scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2026.

Hyundai said the plant will use “innovative manufacturing platforms, with optimal working conditions for safety and efficiency”.

Euisun Chung, executive chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, said in a statement: “The new BEV dedicated plant in Ulsan is the beginning of a promising future for the next 50 years and the era of electrification. I am honoured to share our dream of a 100 year company here. Just as in the past the dream of building the best car made Ulsan an automotive city today, I trust Ulsan will be an innovative mobility city that leads the way in the era of electrification.”

The new BEV factory will be Hyundai Motor’s first new plant in South Korea in 29 years, following the opening of Asan in 1996. It is expected to lead the company’s “electrification era, provide products that exceed customer expectations and strengthen the domestic industry base”.

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Earlier this year Hyundai Motor announced a medium term target of selling 2m BEVs globally by 2030.