The UK’s first electric vehicle-only factory started production today, as its initial battery-powered vans rolled off the assembly line in the North West.

The Ellesmere Port plant, which first opened in 1963 and previously produced Vauxhall’s Astra, has become the country’s first EV-exclusive manufacturing site following a £100million investment from parent company, Stellantis.

The factory, which will make the Vauxhall – and Opel for mainland Europe – Combo-e van as well as the Citroen e-Berlingo and Peugeot e-Partner sister models, was hailed by the business secretary as a ‘visible demonstration that the Government has got the right plan for the UK’s automotive sector’.

The UK's first electric-only vehicle production site opens: The former Vauxhall Astra plant in Ellesmere Port is now making battery-powered vans and MPVs

The UK's first electric-only vehicle production site opens: The former Vauxhall Astra plant in Ellesmere Port is now making battery-powered vans and MPVs

The UK’s first electric-only vehicle production site opens: The former Vauxhall Astra plant in Ellesmere Port is now making battery-powered vans and MPVs

The factory will make the Vauxhall - and Opel for mainland Europe - Combo-e van (second left) as well as the Citroen e-Berlingo (far right), Fiat E-Doblo (far left) and Peugeot e-Partner (second right) sister models

The factory will make the Vauxhall - and Opel for mainland Europe - Combo-e van (second left) as well as the Citroen e-Berlingo (far right), Fiat E-Doblo (far left) and Peugeot e-Partner (second right) sister models

The factory will make the Vauxhall – and Opel for mainland Europe – Combo-e van (second left) as well as the Citroen e-Berlingo (far right), Fiat E-Doblo (far left) and Peugeot e-Partner (second right) sister models

The Ellesmere Port site produced its final Astra back in April last year, having been the home of the family hatchback – and estate version – through all seven generations dating back to 1981.

This saw more than four million built in total across four decades.

The final Astra built there emerged on 7 April – an Astra Sport Tourer estate 1.2-litre petrol Turbo SRi Nav manual in ‘Hot Red’ paint. 

End of the line for the British-built Astra: Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port factory produced its final Astra - and last internal combustion engine vehicle - on 7 April 2022 before being converted to an EV-only site

End of the line for the British-built Astra: Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port factory produced its final Astra - and last internal combustion engine vehicle - on 7 April 2022 before being converted to an EV-only site

End of the line for the British-built Astra: Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory produced its final Astra – and last internal combustion engine vehicle – on 7 April 2022 before being converted to an EV-only site

The Ellesmere Port plant will also be the home of the Vauxhall Combo Life Electric, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroën e-Berlingo MPVs - three MPVs based on the vans it is also making

The Ellesmere Port plant will also be the home of the Vauxhall Combo Life Electric, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroën e-Berlingo MPVs - three MPVs based on the vans it is also making

The Ellesmere Port plant will also be the home of the Vauxhall Combo Life Electric, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroën e-Berlingo MPVs – three MPVs based on the vans it is also making

Among the first EVs produced is this Vauxhall Combo Electric, which is powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 100kW (136PS) electric motor and can cover 175 miles on a single charge

Among the first EVs produced is this Vauxhall Combo Electric, which is powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 100kW (136PS) electric motor and can cover 175 miles on a single charge

Among the first EVs produced is this Vauxhall Combo Electric, which is powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 100kW (136PS) electric motor and can cover 175 miles on a single charge

Immediately after its completion, Stellantis set about a £100million injection to convert the plant into the group’s – and the UK’s – first electric-only production site, specialising in battery powered commercial vehicles and MPVs.

And today the company confirmed that it will also be the European production site for the Fiat E-Doblo electric van, as a result of increased demand for zero-emission compact commercial models.

The Ellesmere Port plant will also be the home of the Vauxhall Combo Life Electric, Peugeot e-Rifter and Citroën e-Berlingo MPVs – three MPVs based on the vans it is also making.

The news comes just days after it was revealed that Mini is set to announce a fresh deal to manufacture its next-generation electric cars at Plant Oxford in Cowley beyond 2023, while Jaguar Land Rover’s parent company Tata confirmed in July that it will build its first battery ‘gigafactory’ outside of India in Somerset with an investment of £4billion – creating up to 4,000 jobs in the region. 

Diane Miller, plant director at Ellesmere Port, said today's opening 'signals a bright future for the plant'

Diane Miller, plant director at Ellesmere Port, said today's opening 'signals a bright future for the plant'

Diane Miller, plant director at Ellesmere Port, said today’s opening ‘signals a bright future for the plant’ 

Referencing the job boost for Britain, Miller said the opening on the EV-only production site will 'ensure Britain continues to manufacture vehicles for many years to come'

Referencing the job boost for Britain, Miller said the opening on the EV-only production site will 'ensure Britain continues to manufacture vehicles for many years to come'

Referencing the job boost for Britain, Miller said the opening on the EV-only production site will ‘ensure Britain continues to manufacture vehicles for many years to come’

With £100million spent on the facility in the months since Astra production ceased, the site now boasts a new battery assembly shop, upgrades to the assembly line itself and the relocation of the old bodyshop

With £100million spent on the facility in the months since Astra production ceased, the site now boasts a new battery assembly shop, upgrades to the assembly line itself and the relocation of the old bodyshop

With £100million spent on the facility in the months since Astra production ceased, the site now boasts a new battery assembly shop, upgrades to the assembly line itself and the relocation of the old bodyshop 

The changes mean the site is now 60 per cent smaller than before, which Stellantis claims 'improves energy efficiency and productivity'

The changes mean the site is now 60 per cent smaller than before, which Stellantis claims 'improves energy efficiency and productivity'

The changes mean the site is now 60 per cent smaller than before, which Stellantis claims ‘improves energy efficiency and productivity’ 

Diane Miller, plant director at Ellesmere Port, said today ‘signals a bright future for the plant’ and referenced the job boost for Britain, adding that it ‘ensures it will continue to manufacture vehicles for many years to come’. 

She added that Stellantis is ‘committed to working with the Government to ensure the UK automotive industry remains competitive for producing electric vehicles for the long-term’, as ministers set out to make Britain a more appealing location to manufacturers.

Kemi Badenoch, secretary of state for business and trade, said: ‘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. 

‘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.’

With £100million spent on the facility since Astra production ceased, the site now boasts a new battery assembly shop, upgrades to the assembly line itself and the relocation of the old bodyshop. 

The changes mean the site is now 60 per cent smaller than before, which Stellantis claims ‘improves energy efficiency and productivity’. 

There is also a new test track for the vehicles to be tested immediately after they’ve come off the production line, and a new parts distribution warehouse remains in its final stages of construction, ahead of becoming fully operational early next year.

Car production started at Ellesmere Port in 1962 with the Viva, followed by the Chevette and then the Astra hatchback and estate versions. More than 5.2m motors have been made there

Car production started at Ellesmere Port in 1962 with the Viva, followed by the Chevette and then the Astra hatchback and estate versions. More than 5.2m motors have been made there

Car production started at Ellesmere Port in 1962 with the Viva, followed by the Chevette and then the Astra hatchback and estate versions. More than 5.2m motors have been made there

The first Vauxhall Astra - based on the Opel Kadett - pictured here being driven off the production line in Ellesmere Port in 1981

The first Vauxhall Astra - based on the Opel Kadett - pictured here being driven off the production line in Ellesmere Port in 1981

The first Vauxhall Astra – based on the Opel Kadett – pictured here being driven off the production line in Ellesmere Port in 1981

The second-generation Astra was built from 1984 to 1991. It used the same engines as the Mk1, but with a completely restyled body. It was voted 1985 European Car of the Year

The second-generation Astra was built from 1984 to 1991. It used the same engines as the Mk1, but with a completely restyled body. It was voted 1985 European Car of the Year

The second-generation Astra was built from 1984 to 1991. It used the same engines as the Mk1, but with a completely restyled body. It was voted 1985 European Car of the Year 

Released in 1991, the Mk3 Astra was an evolution of the model before it, rather than a complete overhaul. It was in production until 1998

Released in 1991, the Mk3 Astra was an evolution of the model before it, rather than a complete overhaul. It was in production until 1998

Released in 1991, the Mk3 Astra was an evolution of the model before it, rather than a complete overhaul. It was in production until 1998

In 1998, Vauxhall introduced the Mk5 Astra, which won praise for its greatly improved ride and handling. It also scored excellently in Euro NCAP crash tests and become a British favourite. Production ceased in 2004

In 1998, Vauxhall introduced the Mk5 Astra, which won praise for its greatly improved ride and handling. It also scored excellently in Euro NCAP crash tests and become a British favourite. Production ceased in 2004

In 1998, Vauxhall introduced the Mk5 Astra, which won praise for its greatly improved ride and handling. It also scored excellently in Euro NCAP crash tests and become a British favourite. Production ceased in 2004

Boxier looks were incorporated into the design of the Mk6 Astra, which was built at Ellesmere Port from 2004 until 2010

Boxier looks were incorporated into the design of the Mk6 Astra, which was built at Ellesmere Port from 2004 until 2010

Boxier looks were incorporated into the design of the Mk6 Astra, which was built at Ellesmere Port from 2004 until 2010

Having watched the Ford Focus become a major sales success in Britain, Vauxhall knew it had to up its game with the sixth-gen Astra, built from 2009 to 2016. It was better to drive, more stylish than before and offered all the requirements needed in a family motor

Having watched the Ford Focus become a major sales success in Britain, Vauxhall knew it had to up its game with the sixth-gen Astra, built from 2009 to 2016. It was better to drive, more stylish than before and offered all the requirements needed in a family motor

Having watched the Ford Focus become a major sales success in Britain, Vauxhall knew it had to up its game with the sixth-gen Astra, built from 2009 to 2016. It was better to drive, more stylish than before and offered all the requirements needed in a family motor

The Mk7 Astra emerged in 2015. While it was an improvement on the car it succeeded, it hasn't quite managed to replicate the same success of former models. This was the final one built at Ellesmere Port - a Sport Tourer estate 1.2-litre petrol Turbo SRi Nav manual in 'Hot Red' paint

The Mk7 Astra emerged in 2015. While it was an improvement on the car it succeeded, it hasn't quite managed to replicate the same success of former models. This was the final one built at Ellesmere Port - a Sport Tourer estate 1.2-litre petrol Turbo SRi Nav manual in 'Hot Red' paint

The Mk7 Astra emerged in 2015. While it was an improvement on the car it succeeded, it hasn’t quite managed to replicate the same success of former models. This was the final one built at Ellesmere Port – a Sport Tourer estate 1.2-litre petrol Turbo SRi Nav manual in ‘Hot Red’ paint

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 4.1million Astras have rolled off the production lines at Ellesmere Port and in excess of 5.2million cars across all models.

Production of the latest eighth-generation Astra now takes place at Opel’s Rüsselsheim site in German.

Among the first electric vehicles to be produced at Ellesmere Port, the Vauxhall Combo Electric is powered by a 50kWh lithium-ion battery paired with a 100kW (136PS) electric motor. 

It has a range of up to 175 miles, while a 0 to 80 per cent charge can be completed in just 30 mins from a 100kW rapid charger.

Since 1981, more than 4 million Vauxhall Astras across all generations were built at the UK site

Since 1981, more than 4 million Vauxhall Astras across all generations were built at the UK site

Since 1981, more than 4 million Vauxhall Astras across all generations have been built at the UK site

The new eighth-generation Astra , which was unveiled last year and will cost from £24,315, is being built at Opel¿s Rüsselsheim site in Germany

The new eighth-generation Astra , which was unveiled last year and will cost from £24,315, is being built at Opel¿s Rüsselsheim site in Germany

The new eighth-generation Astra , which was unveiled last year and will cost from £24,315, is being built at Opel’s Rüsselsheim site in Germany 

Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat are currently the only mainstream automotive brands to produce vans in Britain. 

Alongside the Ellesmere Port plant, they all continue to make vans at the Stellantis factory in Luton, which has been operating since 1905.

Speaking last year about the end of Astra production in Britain, Paul Willcox, managing director at Vauxhall and senior vice-president for Stellantis, said: ‘Over the last 60 years, Ellesmere Port has become one of the great British car plants, producing some of the most popular cars on the roads across generations. 

‘With one era closing, we’re now looking forward to an all-new electric era at Ellesmere, with the site becoming the first Stellantis plant to produce solely electric vehicles. 

‘Vauxhall is fast moving towards an electric future and I’m pleased to see the next-generation of Vauxhall electric vehicles made in Britain.’

Vauxhall has committed to selling only electric vehicles from 2028, seven years ahead of the Government deadline, and says the transformation at Ellesmere Port will ‘ensure the UK remains at the forefront of electric vehicle manufacturing’. 

#fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle#mobile {display:none} #fiveDealsWidget {display:block; float:left; clear:both; max-width:636px; margin:0; padding:0; line-height:120%; font-size:12px} #fiveDealsWidget div, #fiveDealsWidget a {margin:0; padding:0; line-height:120%; text-decoration: none; font-family:Arial, Helvetica ,sans-serif} #fiveDealsWidget .widgetTitleBox {display:block; float:left; width:100%; background-color:#af1e1e; } #fiveDealsWidget .widgetTitle {color:#fff; text-transform: uppercase; font-size:18px; font-weight:bold; margin:6px 10px 4px 10px; } #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {float:left; display:block; width:124px; margin-right:4px; margin-top:5px; background-color: #e3e3e3; min-height:180px;} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {margin-right:0} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle {display:block; margin:10px 5px; color:#000; font-weight:bold} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage img {float:left; display:block; margin:0; padding:0} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {border:1px solid #ccc} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage img {width:100%; height:auto} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemdesc {float:left; display:block; color:#004db3; font-weight:bold; margin:5px;} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemRate {float:left; display:block; color:#000; margin:5px} #fiveDealsWidget .dealFooter {display:block; float:left; width:100%; margin-top:5px; background-color:#e3e3e3 } #fiveDealsWidget .footerText {font-size:10px; margin:10px 10px 10px 10px;} @media (max-width: 635px) { #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {width:19%; margin-right:1%} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {width:20%} } @media (max-width: 560px) { #fiveDealsWidget #desktop {display:none;} #fiveDealsWidget #mobile {display:block!important} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {background-color: #fff; height:auto; min-height:auto} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem {border-bottom:1px solid #ececec; margin-bottom:5px; padding-bottom:10px} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {border-bottom:0px solid #ececec; margin-bottom:5px; padding-bottom:0px} #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem, #fiveDealsWidget a.dealItem#last {width:100%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {float:left; display:inline-block} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemImage {width:35%; margin-right:1%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent {width:63%} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemTitle {margin: 0px 5px 5px; font-size:16px} #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent .dealItemdesc, #fiveDealsWidget .dealItemContent .dealItemRate {clear:both} }

This post first appeared on Dailymail.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Will I avoid inheritance tax on my estate because I moved to Australia?

I wonder if you might be able to throw some light on…

The lucky dip sites that can slash your grocery bills

Toby Walne pictured with his delivery of supermarket-rejected goodies As grocery bills…

Rishi Sunak announces £11.5bn to build 180,000 affordable homes including 160,000 new homes on brownfield land

RISHI Sunak today revealed plans for 180,000 affordable homes as part of…

Musk seeks boss ‘foolish enough’ to replace him at Twitter

Elon Musk said he will step down as chief executive of Twitter…