U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock

ATLANTA – U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., introduced a bill Thursday to calm foreign-based electric vehicle manufacturers’ fears that recent federal legislation would hurt them financially before a Hyundai EV plant near Savannah could start production.

Under a provision tucked into the Inflation Reduction Act Congress passed last month, EV purchasers would not qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 unless the vehicles – including their batteries – are made in North America.

That will be the case in 2025 when Hyundai ramps up production of EVs at a huge plant in Bryan County, a $5.54 billion project expected to create 8,100 jobs.

But in the meantime, Hyundai officials are worried the strict eligibility requirements for the new tax credit will hurt U.S. sales.

Warnock’s bill calls for delaying the made-in-North-America requirement until 2025 for batteries and 2026 for EVs themselves.

“I’m focused squarely on helping Georgia car buyers save money and helping car manufacturers who do business in our state thrive,” Warnock said Thursday.

“The Affordable Electric Vehicles for America Act will lower costs for Georgians and provide consumers more options when purchasing an electric vehicle, while also supporting good-paying jobs across our state and bolstering Georgia automakers like Hyundai.”

Warnock’s bill faces long odds in the Senate because of time constraints. Members of Congress are in a rush to get home and hit the campaign trail ahead of the November midterm elections.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.