Building UK gigafactories ‘key component’ to survival of Vauxhall plant

A domestic supply of electric car batteries is a “key component” in the survival of Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port factory, a senior figure at the firm’s parent company has indicated.

Stellantis is currently reviewing its options for the Cheshire site, which include building electric cars there or possible closure.

The company’s UK group managing director, Alison Jones, noted that the Brexit trade deal includes a requirement for UK manufacturers to source battery materials from within the UK or the EU to avoid tariffs, with the rules tightening in 2023 and 2027.

Asked about how attractive the UK is for building electric cars, she said: “The ability to source batteries close to where you’re manufacturing, and then link that to the tariffs that could or could not be imposed as we go forward, is a key component.”

She added: “We build carbon calculations into any decision that we make. So that’s an important part of it.”

There are no major electric car battery factories – known as gigafactories – in the UK.

Ms Jones, speaking at a summit held by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said the location of customers is also an important factor when Stellantis decides where to build electric cars.

The company is believed to be seeking financial incentives from the Government to begin production of an electric model in Ellesmere Port.

In response to being asked “what is it going to take” for the company to invest in the factory, she replied: “We’ve had ongoing conversations with the Government, and we continue those conversations,” she said.

“I can’t say here what they are, but that is part of the equation.”

Up to 7,000 workers in the supply chain rely on the plant for their livelihoods, according to union Unite.