Stellantis will invest £100 million in its Ellesmere Port site in the UK, converting the plant to produce only EVs and their batteries.
Electric vans for passenger and commercial users alike will be made for four PSA and FCA brands at the plant, starting later this year.
PSA’s battery-electric tech is expected to flow to brands that were a part of Fiat-Chrysler, which has lagged behind in EV development over the past decade.
Stellantis, recently formed by the merger of FCA and PSA, will soon have a production base dedicated solely to EVs, following the moves of other European automakers that have taken steps to set up production hubs dedicated to battery-electric vehicles. The automaker plans to devote its factory in Ellesmere Port in the UK to electric LCVs (light commercial vehicles) and passenger EVs, with the plant slated to produce models under four brands: Opel, Vauxhall, Citroën, and Peugeot.
The automaker plans to invest £100 million ($138 million) in the site with the first models due to roll out of the factory later this year, with both passenger and commercial versions on the way. The plant will receive a new body shop, an on-site battery-pack assembly facility, and an upgraded general assembly. The plant is also scheduled to become carbon-neutral by the middle of this decade.
“Performance is always the trigger for sustainability, and this £100million investment demonstrates our commitment to the UK and to Ellesmere Port,” said Carlos Tavares, CEO at Stellantis. “I particularly want to thank our highly skilled, dedicated workforce for their patience and contribution; we never let them down. Equally, I want to thank our partners the Unite Union for their open mind set and strong cooperation and, of course, the UK government for their continued support. Producing battery electric vehicles here will support clean, safe, and affordable mobility for the citizens. Since 1903 Vauxhall has manufactured vehicles in Britain and we will continue to do so.”
With Stellantis’ turn to more recent PSA architectures, it’s quite possible that we could see versions of PSA electric models stateside in the coming years. That’s because there are no real battery-electric FCA offerings on the radar at the moment, while PSA has a growing lineup of battery-electric models from Peugeot and Citroën. The European part of FCA’s lineup is expected to benefit from the EV tech rolled out by the two French brands, with a number of models on the way soon.
When it comes to light commercial vehicles, the Ellesmere Port plant will produce battery-electric versions of the Opel and Vauxhall Combo-e and its passenger variant, as well as the Citroën e-Berlingo along with its passenger version, and the Peugeot e-Partner with its own passenger model.
The plant itself, launched in 1962, produced Vauxhall and Opel vehicles in its early years under General Motors’ ownership, starting with the Vauxhall Viva in 1964, and was acquired by French automaker PSA just a few years ago along with the two inseparable brands. Vauxhall itself dates back to 1903, while Opel is even older and had been owned by GM since the late 1920s, making a few appearances stateside (one of the last as the Saturn Astra), while Vauxhall enjoyed a few cameos in Canada in past decades. Opel had been paired closely with Vauxhall for the majority of its tenure with GM, until both were picked up by PSA in 2017.
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