Luton to become UK’s hub for electric vans production by 2025

Luton to become UK’s hub for electric vans production by 2025

Stellantis, the owner of Vauxhall, has announced that it will start making electric vans at its Luton plant from 2025, securing the future of 1,500 workers at the site. The Luton factory will produce four models of medium-sized electric vans for the Vauxhall, Citroën, Peugeot and Fiat Professional brands, according to Stellantis. Owner Stellantis’s decision to invest will safeguard 1,500 jobs at the factory
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The project, dubbed Project One, will be the largest investment in electric vans in Europe in 30 years. The plant will use a technology called cracking, which involves splitting hydrocarbons into smaller molecules at high temperatures and pressures, to produce ethylene, a key component for making plastic.
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The decision is a boost for the UK automotive industry, which has faced challenges from the computer chip shortage and the Brexit trade deal. Stellantis had previously warned that it could close its UK plants if tariffs were imposed on UK-EU exports, but the trade agreement reached in December 2020 averted that risk and paved the way for further investments. Another government official told business leaders: “[There’s] a great opportunity here actually. [It was] just an empty land that was ready to be built over from scratch.”
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Stellantis has already begun making electric vans at its other main UK site at Ellesmere Port, in Merseyside, which was saved from closure by switching from passenger cars to commercial vans. The Luton plant will focus on right-hand-drive vans for the UK market, but will also be able to produce left-hand-drive vans. Stellantis expects the demand for electric vans to grow in the future, as more businesses and consumers switch to greener vehicles. The European Commission has set a target to halve the use of chemical pesticides in the EU by 2030, as part of its green transition, but has faced opposition from farmers, who have staged protests across Europe. Stellantis UK’s group managing director, Maria Grazia Davino, said that the investment “shows Stellantis’s confidence in the plant”, but urged the UK government to “stimulate more demand in the electric vehicle market and support manufacturers that invest in the UK for a sustainable transition”. Stellantis’s chief executive, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, who is one of the richest people in the UK and a vocal supporter of Brexit, praised the Flemish and federal governments for their support for the project, and said he had considered moving it elsewhere due to the legal challenges. He made his comments at a European industry summit this week, where he was joined by the Belgian prime minister, Alexander De Croo, and the European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. The project is part of a global expansion of the petrochemical sector, which aims to meet the growing demand for plastic, despite the mounting concerns about plastic pollution and the need to reduce carbon emissions. Source : THE


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