The world’s largest diesel engine factory in Tremery, eastern France, will be making the pivotal switch to electric motor production. Last year, the plant had a 120,000-unit electric motor production capacity, but that figure will grow to 180,000 units this year. Ultimately, the goal is to produce 900,000 units of electric motors annually.

Since it opened its doors in 1979, the Tremery plant has produced around 50 million internal combustion engines. But demand for diesel has dropped steadily with the unraveling of the Dieselgate scandal, and strict emissions regulations are forcing automakers to grow their electrified fleet, or risk paying hefty fines.

A representative for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission union at Tremery, Laetitia Uzan told Reuters: “2021 is going to be a pivotal year, the first real transition towards the world of electric models.” In Europe, at least 20 car models are no longer available with a diesel engine, from the Volkswagen Polo to the Honda Civic.

According to JATO data, EU registrations for electrified vehicles overtook diesel registrations for the first time in September 2020. In fact, electrified car sales surged 122% in the first nine months of 2020, at a time when overall vehicle sales fell 29% due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As demand for electrified vehicles grow, factories like the one in Tremery face a different kind of problem. Electric motors only have a fifth of the parts of a traditional diesel engine, which casts doubts on the fate of the plant’s 3,000 workers.

Uzan acknowledged the problem but was optimistic that the “trimming” process could happen “quite naturally” as workers retire without being replaced. Tremery’s owner Stellantis said it won’t close factories and will seek to protect jobs.