Dyson unveils electric car blueprint
Plans for the first electric car from engineering firm and appliance maker Dyson have been unveiled as the firm looks to a 2021 sale date.
The electric vehicle (EV) was officially announced in September 2017 with founder Sir James Dyson confirming a 400-strong workforce for the product, using an initial £2bn investment and expertise from former Tesla and Aston Martin staff.
An original release date of 2020 has now been pushed back a year with approximately £500m further ploughed into the EV development. It is expected the vehicle, which will be manufactured and sold directly by Dyson, will be available in a limited number of countries first.
The car caused controversy last year when Brexit supporter Dyson said the new vehicle plant would be placed in Singapore rather than the UK, because he believed the Asian market for EVs would be larger.
But Dyson has confirmed that it will expand its Wiltshire facility to include a ten-mile test track for electric vehicles (EVs) and will invest £116m to further redevelop a disused World War 2 hangar at the Hullavington Airfield into an EV technology hub, complete with a test track.
Dyson has also urged the Prime Minister Theresa May to accelerate the government’s Road to Zero strategy, and ban petrol and diesel cars by 2030, going as far as to say the current 2040 target was “madness”. In an interview with the Financial Times, Dyson said the EV market in the UK was potentially underestimated at present, with subsidies not driving interest but a “genuine desire of the public to have silent and non-polluting vehicles.”
The plans came to light from Dyson patents and an email to 500 staff working on the vehicle, which stressed a need to keep the product secret in the competitive EV marketplace which includes rapid growth from legacy car marques such as Audi and Volkswagen as well as disrupters such as Tesla.
Dyson said patents were required as the car included “fundamentally new technologies” although he cautioned that despite this the firm did not always activate the patents and manufacture products from filed designs.