Kia Corporation has launched test production at its newly refurbished battery electric vehicle (BEV) plant in Gwangmyeon, near Seoul, according to local reports citing industry sources.

Kia, a unit of Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), launched test production of a new model, the EV3 small battery powered SUV, at the dedicated BEV factory.

Kia closed the Autoland Gwangmyeong No 2 plant in June 2023 to reconfigure the factory to make BEVs. Refurbishment work was largely completed at the end of last year with production of some EV3 parts starting soon after.

Mass production of the EV3, based on HMG’s Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), was scheduled to begin next June of this year to boost production of low cost BEV models as global competition continues to escalate driven particularly by Chinese brands. The plant was also scheduled to begin production of the EV4 battery powered compact sedan in 2025.

Kia is also building a new plant in South Korea to produce battery powered purpose built vehicles (PBVs) from 2025.

Hyundai Motor is also building a dedicated BEV plant in Ulsan which was scheduled to be completed in 2026 to produce large battery powered SUVs including Genesis.

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It is also building a 300,000 unit/year BEV plant in Georgia, US, while BEV lines have also been added to existing Hyundai and Kia plants in the country.