Stellantis switches Ellesmere Port factory to build purely electric vehicles
Merseyside location gets the greenest light
Stellantis has big news. First, it’s spent a not-insignificant £100 million to turn its Ellesmere Port manufacturing plant into a producer of all-motors electric-only. That makes it the UK’s first car factory dedicated entirely to electric vehicle (EV) production.
Second, in addition to producing the Vauxhall Combo Electric, Opel Combo Electric, Peugeot e-Partner, Citroen e-Berlingo (yes, all the vans that look pretty much identical), it’ll also produce the Fiat E-Doblo – built on the same platform.
That chunk of investment has kept the firm busy. The money’s gone into building a battery assembly shop, relocating the body shop and upgrading general assembly areas, as well as improving energy efficiency at the plant by 60 per cent and building a test track, due to open next year, too. Phew.
From next year, the Ellesmere Port facility will also produce passenger vehicles – by which it means MPVs (don't pull that face) specifically the Vauxhall Combo Life Electric, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroen e-Berlingo – not that dissimilar from this e-SpaceTourer.
Diane Miller, plant director at Ellesmere Port, said: “The start of electric vehicle production at Ellesmere Port signals a bright future for the plant, ensuring it will continue to manufacture vehicles for many years to come. With Vauxhall’s long history of UK manufacturing, it’s especially fitting that the first electric model to roll off Ellesmere Port’s production line is a Combo Electric. Whilst the welcome addition of the Fiat E-Doblò to the plant is a positive reflection of increasing electric vehicle demand.
“Stellantis is committed to working with the government to ensure the UK automotive industry remains competitive for producing electric vehicles for the long-term.”
The parent company, which has Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Jeep in its portfolio too, has bold ambitions to halve its carbon footprint by 2030. By that date, it also wants the plant – built in 1962 – to be reliant on solar and wind generation.
With all its focus on electrification, Stellantis has come out in recent months asking for the Brexit rules to be renegotiated, so vehicles built in the UK aren't exposed to expensive 'rules-of-origin' tariffs. These come to fruition on 1 January 2024 and require at least 45 per cent of EV components and 60 per cent of batteries to originate from the UK or the EU to qualify for a zero-tariff rate.
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