The announcement by the British government that it would delay a ban on new gasoline and diesel cars and vans to 2035 from 2030 brought swift pushback from automakers, who have invested billions of pounds to build EVs in the U.K. on the assumption that they could not sell combustion cars after 2030.
Automakers with a U.K. car manufacturing presence include Bentley, BMW's Mini and Rolls-Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Stellantis and Toyota. Ford builds parts in Brtiain.
Many of them have recently announced plans to build full-electric vehicles in Britain, despite what many see as an unfavorable trade environment after Brexit. Smaller companies with EV aspirations include Aston Martin and Geely’s London Electric Vehicle Company.
Stellantis this month said it was starting electric-only van production at its Vauxhall factory in Ellesmere Port, which it says is the U.K.’s only manufacturing site dedicated solely to EVs. The site’s future had been uncertain after Brexit, but Stellantis in 2021 decided to invest 100 million pounds to retrofit it for electric van production.
Even after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s announcement Wednesday to delay the ICE ban, Stellantis remains committed to selling only zero emission cars and vans in the EU and the U.K., a spokesman told Automotive News Europe. “Our range will progressively move towards 100 percent electric, ahead of current legislation.”
The Ellesmere Port plant will produce a range of compact vans, including the Vauxhall Combo Electric, Opel Combo Electric, Peugeot e-Partner, Citroen e-Berlingo and the Fiat E-Doblo.
“Clarity and reasonable anticipation are important from governments where we operate on important legislation, including environmental issues, given the planning cycles of our sector,” the Stellantis spokesman said.
Other automakers that have committed to building EVs in the U.K., where overall auto production has halved since the 2016 Brexit referendum include: