Ellesmere Port is the UK’s first EV-only manufacturing plant and the first Stellantis plant globally dedicated to electric vehicles, following a £100m investment to transform the plant for EV production.
The Ellesmere Port plant will produce the Vauxhall Combo Electric, Opel Combo Electric, Peugeot e-Partner, Citroën ë-Berlingo and, being announced today, due to increased demand for electric vehicles across Europe, the Fiat E-Doblò, compact vans.
From 2024, Ellesmere Port will also produce a range of electric passenger vehicles across the Stellantis brands, including the Vauxhall Combo Life Electric, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroën ë-Berlingo MPVs.
Charging infrastructure requirements
In July, the government was warned it must provide the charging infrastructure to service the increasing number of elecric vehicles in the logistics sector. Speaking at Logistics UK’s Next Generation Van conference, Shadow Minister for Business and Industrial Strategy Bill Esterson MP said: “Labour’s Industrial Strategy will create stability for logistics businesses and ensure the UK is self-sufficient in cheap, renewable electricity. Labour will ensure that charging infrastructure is widely available, that depots can connect to the grid and that incentives are available so that it makes sense to transition to electric. We will be partners with industry to develop and implement the plans needed to meet the challenge of decarbonisation.”
Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for Business and Trade, said that the new EV factory is a very visible demonstration that the Government has got the right plan for the UK’s automotive sector.
She added: "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.”
Diane Miller, plant director, 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.
As part of its transformation for EV production, the Ellesmere Port plant has undergone several key changes, including the addition of a battery assembly shop, upgraded General Assembly and relocation of the bodyshop. This has contributed to a 60% reduction of the total site area for improved energy efficiency and productivity. At 118,000m2, the entire plant is now a similar size to the previous bodyshop.
A new test track has also been built and a new parts distribution warehouse is in its final stages of construction, ahead of becoming fully operational in early 2024.
The plant upgrade also forms a part of Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 commitment to halve its carbon footprint by 2030 (based on 2021 data) and to become carbon net zero, globally, from 2038. Sustainability improvements include the introduction of a new, more energy efficient ‘4-wet’ paint application process, while a localised CHP (combined heat and power) plant is also being installed to generate electricity on-site, bringing a further reduction in emissions.
As part of its ambition to become carbon neutral before the end of the decade, the plant is working towards running on solar and wind power as well as connecting to the HyNet North West Hydrogen Pipeline.
Ellesmere Port was built in 1962 and produced its first car, the Vauxhall Viva, in 1964. Since then, it has produced iconic models from the Vauxhall range including the Chevette and successive generations of the Vauxhall and Opel Astra. Since 1985, more than 4.1 million units have rolled off the production lines at Ellesmere Port.