UK Government deletes reference to Dyson electric car plans
The government appears to have deleted a reference in an official document to plans by the vacuum-maker Dyson to develop an electric car.
The Guardian reported on Wednesday that government documents had revealed the British company was working on a battery electric vehicle with help from taxpayers’ money. The government’s National infrastructure delivery plan said the project was expected to create more than 500 jobs and generate £182m of investment.
But by Thursday morning the document had been altered, without any indication that it had been changed, to remove the reference to an electric car.
The original version of the government’s document read: “The government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering.”
The current version reads: “The government is providing a grant of up to £16m to Dyson to support research and development for battery technology at their site in Malmesbury.”
Dyson would not confirm or deny whether it was working on a car. “We never comment on products that are in development.”
The company recently reported profits up 20% in 2015, driven by strong growth in China, and said it plans to invest £1bn in battery technology over the next five years. Last October, Dyson bought solid-state battery company, Sakti3, for $90m, which founder Sir James Dyson said had “developed a breakthrough in battery technology”.
Other players outside of the traditional automotive industry, including Apple, are working to build an electric car, which are seen as vital to cut carbon emissions and reduce local air pollution.
The Department for Transport did not respond to a request for comment on the apparent deletion by the time of publication.