► Iconic Manta badge will return on crossover
► Crossland and Insignia to get EV successors
► Hydrogen fuel cell Vivaro-e van in trial phase
Vauxhall has confirmed that it’ll ditch the combustion engine for good in 2028 – every new car from the brand launched after that date will be powered by a pure-electric powertrain. The news forms part of Stellantis’s ‘Dare Forward 2030’ plan, which will see the group launch a broad range of new EVs and achieve carbon neutrality by 2038.
For Vauxhall (and Opel), that’s a big deal. But it’s not something the firm is incapable of. The brand has already launched a range of plug-in hybrid and pure-electric cars – and it’ll get a helping hand from its Stellantis sister brand Peugeot on the EV technology front.
Since the Dare Forward announcement, Vauxhall has confirmed plenty of details about its electrification plans – including a rough list of the models it’ll launch in the next six years. Keep reading for a rundown of everything we know so far, as well as some more information on the company’s plans for its Ellesmere Port factory.
Cut to the chase. What’s on the horizon?
More EVs than you can shake a Type 2 cable at. Most recently, Vauxhall confirmed the iconic Manta would return as a fully electric crossover in 2025. The decision was swayed by all the positive feedback the company received for the Manta GSe electric restomod.
On top of that, Vauxhall has now said that the next-generation versions of the Crossland and the Insignia will have battery-electric powertrains. The technology that underpins these cars will also be much more advanced than what the company offers today.
Vauxhall says that ‘in the near future,’ its EVs will have driving ranges of between 310 and 497 miles. The company’s charging technology will also get a shot in the arm – Vauxhall says its new EVs will offer ‘best-in-class’ rapid charging speeds of 20 miles per minute.
In 2023, we’ll also get a pure-electric version of the Astra. It’ll join the 222bhp plug-in hybrid model that’s already in the showrooms, and will be one the first cars based on the Stellantis group’s STLA Medium platform. The underpinnings are basically a rebranded, updated and electric-ready version of PSA’s ubiquitous EMP2 chassis.
We’ve got more than just electric cars to look forward to, as Vauxhall is also investigating a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of its Vivaro-e van. The project is already in its trial phase, with the first prototypes set to hit UK roads soon.
These will join Vauxhall’s existing range of electrified vehicles, which includes the pure-electric Corsa-e and Mokka-e, the plug-in hybrid Grandland SUV and the brand’s range of electric commercial vehicles – the Combo-e, Vivaro-e and Movano-e.
Okay. But what’s going to power all these new EVs?
We’re glad you asked. Vauxhall recently signed a partnership with Total, Saft and Mercedes that was designed to promote the development of battery packs for the automotive industry and – most importantly – produce them at a scale that can keep up with increasing demand.
It’s called the Automotive Cells Company – and its efforts will culminate in a new gigafactory in Kaiserslautern, Germany (where Opel currently builds its engines) that will have an annual battery production capacity of up to 32GWh. Production is set to start in 2025.
What’s happening at Ellesmere Port?
It’s been a turbulent few years for the factory. Its future was left hanging in the balance after the Brexit referendum and the subsequent forming of the Stellantis supergroup – but things seem to have stabilised for the plant. At least in the short term, anyway.
Production of the Astra (which has been built at the Ellesmere Port since the first-generation model was introduced in the 1980s) has been moved abroad, so Stellantis decided to turn the plant into a production centre for its electric vans. We’re talking light commercial vehicles and people carriers here – the sort of stuff that keeps Britain’s businesses moving.
It wasn’t a cheap decision, though. Stellantis, with some help from the UK government, allocated £100 million to retool the facility so it could build the group’s electric vans. Still, we’d say that’s a worthwhile investment for the amount of jobs the decision will safeguard.
Stellantis boss, Carlos Tavares, said the decision ‘demonstrates [the company’s] commitment to the UK and Ellesmere Port,’ adding that ‘since 1903, Vauxhall has manufactured vehicles in Britain and we will continue to do so.’