Government support for electric vehicles, and in particular, UK-based battery production, is key to the future of the Vauxhall carm plant at Ellesmere Port.
That was the message from Alison Jones, UK group managing director for plant owner Stellantis.
The car maker has been in discussions with the Government for most of this year after fears arose for the Ellesmere Port site.
Boris Johnson’s government has pledged to phase out petrol and diesel-driven vehicles in the UK from 2030, which means unless Stellantis can build electric cars at is plant it is likely to be shut down, with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs, and a knock-on impact on thousands of supply chain jobs.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said recent talks with Stellantis had been “very positive”, but Ms Jones indicated there is still some way to go before the car maker decides on Ellesmere Port’s future.
She insists the Government must offer support for electric vehicle production in the UK, and factories to make batteries for the new generation of transport.
In a Sky News interview, she said: “The cost of manufacturing has practical components to it, energy being one of them. So when we’re considering what it takes to manufacture in the UK compared to other countries we have to assess the costs.
“So the discussion with government is, OK, how do we make our manufacturing base relevant and able to be done within the UK when you are competing effectively with other countries for that investment?”
She added: “We are part of Europe, geographically, we are a large market within Europe, so we should absolutely be considering asking our government to consider really pushing forward for that investment they spoke about an industrial strategy to end sale of combustion engines by 2030 and plug in hybrids by 2035.
“So contribute. Contribute in terms of that investment we need. You can’t just say it, you have to work out the investment required.
“We have been really clear, to be able to move to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles we need the technology, the infrastructure for customers to be able to charge their vehicles, you need the energy companies to work on making that readily available.
“And then you need consumer behaviour, and where the Government comes in is to to influence with investment, and driving consumer behaviour.”