Dyson to invest £2bn in EV rollout
British engineering firm Dyson is set to enter the electric vehicle (EV) market with the launch of a new model by 2020.
In a letter to employees yesterday (26 September), founder Sir James Dyson confirmed that £2bn investment would go towards the model. A 400-strong team of Dyson engineers and experts from the wider automotive industry, including key staff formerly with Aston Martin and Tesla, have been working for two years on the project, he said.
Dyson, famous for transforming the vacuum cleaner, said the “radical” vehicle would be different from current models on the market, also conceding that it would be expensive to purchase.
He said: “At this moment, we finally have the opportunity to bring all our technologies together into a single product.”
Dyson refused to give specific details on the project, saying that while the electric motor has been designed, the prototype is yet to be built and a factory site had not yet been chosen.
His interest in the field stretches back to the 1990s, Dyson said, when he first examined the idea of designing filters to reduce particulate pollution for diesel engines. He has since concluded that EVs are the best way forward to tackle emissions.
“Rather than filtering emissions at the exhaust pipe, today we have the ability to solve it at the source,” Dyson said.
Commenting on the news, the Renewable Energy Association’s (REA’s) head of EVs spoke of the “major opportunity” for UK firms not traditionally associated with vehicle production to enter the EV market.
“It’s excellent to see new companies entering the space, creating new competition, and driving fresh innovation in the sector,” Matthew Trevaskis.
“Having already acquiring Sakti3, a solid state battery company, and being well-versed in developing electric motors, albeit on a smaller scale, Dyson may have the majority of the building blocks in place to be a real contender in the electric vehicle market.”
Trevaskis called for Government investment in accessible charging infrastructure and energy storage systems to help make EVs the “obvious new car of choice for future consumers”.
Traditional manufacturers have stepped up efforts to develop EVs in recent times. Major players such as Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) have announced plans for all new vehicles to be electric by 2020. Meanwhile, VW, embroiled in the 2015 dieselgate scandal, has pledged that every vehicle in its model portfolio will have an electric version on sale to customers by 2030.
The anticipated expansion of EVs comes amid a swathe of announcements from governments planning to ban international combustion engines, as early as 2025 in Norway and the Netherland. Nicola Sturgeon this month announced that diesel and petrol cars and vans will be phased out in Scotland by 2032, eight years earlier than the UK Government's target.