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