Stellantis leads Vauxhall plant into electric future
The decision to produce battery electric vehicles at the Ellesmere Port site near Liverpool is intended to help achieve the UK government’s target of phasing out sales of petrol and diesel-only engines from 2030. Agreements with the workforce, trade unions, local authorities and the British government also played an important role in the decision in favour of the site.
From next year, Ellesmere Port will build four all-electric cars and four all-electric light commercial vehicles – the Vauxhall Combo-e Life, the Opel Combo-E, the Peugeot e-Rifter and the Citroën ë-Berlingo, as well as the Vauxhall Combo-e, Opel Combo-e, Peugeot e-Partner and Citroën ë-Berlingo commercial vehicle models.
These light commercial vehicles and their passenger car variants are all powered by a 100 kW (136 hp) engine with a 50 kWh lithium-ion battery. They can be charged at up to 100 kW and are said to take only 30 minutes to charge from 0% to 80%. Under WLTP conditions, they are said to have a range of up to 280 kilometres.
The decision for Ellesmere Port is expected to secure thousands of jobs across the region in the supply chain. “In the global race to secure electric vehicle production, we are proud to support the UK automotive sector in this crucial transformation and rebuild,” said Stellanti’s CEO Carlos Tavares.
The plant celebrates its 60th anniversary next year. It was built in 1962 and produced its first car, the Vauxhall Viva, in 1964. Since then, subsequent generations of the Vauxhall Viva have been made there, the Vauxhall Chevette and every generation of Vauxhall and Opel Astra. In total, more than 5.2 million vehicles have been produced at Ellesmere Port since 1964.
The Ellesmere Port plant is being made “fit for the future” to build the electric vehicles – with a new body shop, modernised final assembly, increased site density and the creation of on-site battery pack assembly. There will also be further support to enable the plant to become CO2 neutral by the middle of the decade. The plant is set to become 100% electricity self-sufficient and work on potential wind and solar farms will begin shortly.
Stellantis has also announced its intention to consult on further investment in the Ellesmere Port site to create a new UK parts distribution centre. The company is considered the market leader for light commercial vehicles in Europe; Vauxhall leads the fast-growing all-electric commercial vehicle segment in the UK.
The Vauxhall, Opel, Peugeot and Citroën brands have already committed to each offering fully electric versions of their entire respective van model ranges by the end of 2021. Fiat Professional has also committed to offering electrified and alternative-powered versions across its van range.