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2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 SUV Rolls Off Alabama Line in a U.S. First

The 2023 Genesis Electrified GV70 luxury compact SUV is now rolling off the line at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama, making it the first Genesis model assembled in the U.S.—or anywhere outside of South Korea. Genesis has committed to only launching electric new models in 2025, and by 2030, the entire portfolio will be EV-only. Even if the rest of the industry is only about 50 percent EV by that time, the Korean luxury brand is committed to this course, says Genesis vice president of sales operations Ted Mengiste.

The pursuit began in 2022 with the Genesis GV60, the first Genesis on parent Hyundai Motor Group’s new dedicated E-GMP platform. Last year Genesis also launched the Electrified G80 which uses the same platform as the conventional G80 with an internal combustion engine.

The GV70 takes this second path: it uses the same platform as the gasoline-powered GV70, an architecture that was designed from the start to accommodate motors and batteries, as well as its four- and six-cylinder engines. The expectation is the next-generation SUV will move to E-GMP. We can attest to the excellence of the platform, the Genesis GV70 was the 2022 MotorTrend SUV of the Year.

The Montgomery plant also builds the Hyundai Elantra, Santa Cruz pickup truck, Santa Fe, and the Tucson. Of those, the Santa Fe is offered as a hybrid and there is an automated battery install station on the line, so the plant has dipped its toe into the EV pool, but that is an easy adjustment to the assembly process. As a battery-electric EV, the GV70 has a huge skateboard that must be fit under the SUV and that cannot be done on the regular line—with about 52 seconds per station to complete each task.

Assembly Line Challenges of Adding An EV

The GV70 has an interesting, short-term solution. After the vehicle is finished, a pair of automated guided vehicles that look like pallets slide under the vehicle to transport it to an area where a giant lift hoists it into the air. The battery pack comes fully assembled from Korea, using SK cells, and it is fully charged and ready to go when it is installed. Each sheet of batteries arrives on another guided pallet, positions itself under the SUV, and is raised to install it under the car. Workers manually bolt it into place, connectors are added, coolant hoses installed, a protective undercoat added, and then checks are made and the vehicle is lowered and driven away.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama vice president Robert Burns says this is a workable solution during rampup when about six GV70s are coming off the line an hour on a single shift. When production picks up, and all three shifts with 3,800 employees are churning out a lotmore, a more permanent solution will need to be found. The battery can never be fully incorporated into the line to complete the job in 60 seconds or less. A more likely solution is a side spur the EVs can take off the main line to marry the car and its battery. And as Hyundai introduces more EVs, the need for a better method will be more pressing.

The fact that production Genesis EVs are rolling down the line at all is impressive given that the meeting to add them to the mix at the plant was in March 2022, so the flexibility of the plant was expanded in mere months. Burns has a team of 20 specially trained employees that move down the line with the Genesis models, acting as coaches to those building it and conducting constant quality checks. This also will end when the launch is complete and production is ramped up.

Genesis GV70: ICE Versus EV

To distinguish it from the conventional GV70, the Electrified has a grille panel with no need for air intakes and cleverly and deftly houses the charge port within it. Press the “G” on the grille and the port opens.

Dual motors give it all-wheel-drive capability and they produce 429 horsepower, or press the boost button to access 483 hp for 10 seconds to blow by the car you are passing. Torque is 516 lb-ft. The amount of regenerative braking can be adjusted via shifter paddles and the SUV does offer one-pedal driving.

The GV70 has the same 77.4-kW battery as the Ioniq 5 so we are expecting about 240 miles or more of range, which has yet to be EPA rated. With an 800-volt system, the GV70 Electrified can charge from 10 to 80 percent in 18 minutes. The GV70 has a frunk but it can only accommodate a tiny bag and the tire mobility kit—there is no spare.

Because the Genesis has a higher quality clearcoat, the paint shop robots are programmed to spit out their clear coat for use on the Hyundai models, and refill with the special coating when they know a Genesis is coming up in the build sequence.

Coming to Showrooms Soon

The 2023 Genesis Electrified GV70s built in Alabama are for the U.S. market only, starting in nine states, and will start showing up at dealerships in March. Canadian buyers will source their models from Korea. The GV70 with AWD starts at $66,995 and the higher Prestige trim starts at $73,795.The price and assembly in the U.S. make the Electrified GV70 eligible for the $7,500 tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act.

The order books were not opened ahead of time but anecdotally, interest has been high, Mengiste says. The GV70 has already proven to be the brand’s best-seller and the EV intenders seem willing to wait for its launch. Mengiste said dealers have been asked to not mark up the price.

Genesis is still a fledgling brand, launched in Korea in 2015 and the U.S in 2016. It is working to make its mark on bold styling, quality, safety, and being distinctly Korean, Mengiste says.

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