ELLABELL, Ga. (AP) — A robotic dog delivered a champagne toast and Georgia’s governor and junior U.S. senator shared a brief bipartisan celebration ahead of high-stakes elections as Hyundai Motor Group broke ground Tuesday on its first U.S. plant dedicated to making electric vehicles.
Just five months after Hyundai announced the $5.5 billion manufacturing plant in Bryan County west of Savannah, vast areas of the site have already been cleared of trees. Euisun Chung, executive chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, said the plant will be the envy of the industry.
The South Korean company plans to open the factory in 2025, with at least 8,100 employees producing up to 300,000 electric vehicles per year. Georgia officials say it’s the largest economic development project the state has ever seen.
“This is transformational for the region, not just for people’s children now, but for their grandchildren,” Gov. Brian Kemp said. “This is going to be a project that will resonate for generations to come.”
The timing couldn’t have been better for Kemp, a Republican, and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. The groundbreaking ceremony was held two weeks before the Nov. 8 election in which both men face formidable challengers at the top of the ballot.
After a yellow-and-black robotic dog delivered champagne flutes for Kemp and top Hyundai executives to make a celebratory toast, the officials joined other dignitaries in picking up shoves to turn ceremonial scoops of dirt. Afterward, Kemp and Warnock shared a brief handshake.
“I’d like to see more of this kind of collaboration, quite frankly,” said Warnock, whose race with Republican Herschel Walker will help determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. “At the end of the day, we want to see more jobs in Georgia.”
Kemp, facing an Election Day rematch with Democrat Stacey Abrams, worked with