Electrive — 2023-09-07
Stellantis has started production at its first all-electric vehicle plant. Located in Ellesmere Port near Liverpool, UK, and manufactures the group’s first electric van, the Combo Electric, for Opel/Vauxhall.
The Peugeot e-Partner, Citroën ë-Berlingo and Fiat E-Doblò will also come off the production line there, as well as as well as passenger car models such as the Opel/Vauxhall Combo Life Electric, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroën ë-Berlingo from 2024.
The conversion of the British plant was announced in July 2021, when there was talk of an investment of £100m (around €117m). The examples of the aforementioned model series that have already been delivered so far still come from the plant in Vigo, Spain. There was a mixed production with models like the Citroën C4 Picasso/Grand Picasso and the Peugeot 2008/e-2008. From now on, the electric panel vans have their own factory.
In the past two years, the body shop has been adapted, the final assembly line has been modernised, and an assembly line for battery packs has been set up. In addition, Stellantis built a new test track, and a new spare parts warehouse is in the final construction phase before the plant can be fully commissioned in early 2024.
“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,” says Diane Miller, Plant Director, Ellesmere Port.
“Today’s announcement in which Ellesmere Port becomes the UK’s first electric vehicle-only manufacturing plant and the first Stellantis plant globally dedicated to electric vehicles, is a very visible demonstration that this Government has got the right plan for the UK’s automotive sector,” Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, adds. “Alongside recent investments from other major vehicle manufacturers, we are ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of automotive innovation as well as securing jobs in this critical industry and its wider supply chain.”
However, the plant’s future, which used to build the Opel/Vauxhall Astra, was uncertain until the 2021 investment decision. Closure was also a possible scenario. Stellantis only mentions in passing that the site area was reduced by 60% during the conversion – with 118,000 square metres, the entire plant is now similar in size to the former body shop. Stellantis does not give employment figures for the plant, but emphasises that the reduced area contributes to “improved energy efficiency and productivity.”
With the commissioning of the EV-only production, Ellesmere Port is Stellantis’ first EV-only plant and the first car factory in Great Britain that only manufactures electric vehicles.