Dyson Developing A Consumer EV With Aid Of UK Government Funding

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Originally published on EV Obsession.

Rumors were going around last year that the well-known UK-based company Dyson was in the process of developing an electric car. According to documents recently released by the UK government, it appears that those rumors were true. The company is apparently developing its first consumer electric vehicle with the aid of public (government) money.

The news originated with the newly published National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which stated: “The government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174 million of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering.”

Believable rumors first began to swirl last October, following the company’s acquisition of the solid-state battery company Sakti3 for $90 million. The acquisition was made because, according to Sir James Dyson himself, the company had “developed a breakthrough in battery technology.”

A mass-market electric vehicle (EV) featuring a solid-state battery would certainly be an interesting development, would it not? It’s a bit strange to see that the only established companies seemingly taking EV technologies very seriously — Apple, Google, and now Dyson — are so far outside of the auto-industry inner circle. Maybe they smell blood?

The company’s CEO, Max Conze, made a reference along those lines last year when first questioned about the EV rumors: “We are ruling nothing out. Like our friends in Cupertino we are also unhealthily obsessive when it comes to taking apart our products to make them better.”

The Guardian provides more:

Dyson recently reported profits up 20% in 2015, driven by strong growth in China, and said it plans to invest £1 billion in battery technology over the next five years.

…Asked if the company was, as the government suggested, developing an electric car, a Dyson spokesman said: “We never comment on products that are in development.”

…Dyson, 68, has a long history of inventions. He designed the Rotork Sea Truck, a fast cargo boat in 1970, which has been used by the military and is still sold today. In 1974, he designed the Ballbarrow, a barrow with a ball replacing the wheel, having been frustrated by wheelbarrows getting stuck in mud on a building site.

His breakthrough was the bagless vaucum cleaner, which was inspired by air cyclones used in sawmills to suck up sawdust. Since then, he has created bladeless fans and the Airblade hand dryer. Many of Dyson’s devices use small, light and efficient electric motors developed over 10 years by his company, which may find application in developing a new electric car. Dyson is a now worth several billion pounds and in 2014 pledged his company would spend £1.5 billion on research and development to create future products, aiming to launch 100 new electrical products by 2018.

It’ll be interesting to see what Dyson ends up developing and putting on the market. If the price-point ends up low enough, and the performance and range high enough, the offering could probably be pretty compelling.

Reprinted with permission.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

James Ayre has 4830 posts and counting. See all posts by James Ayre

26 thoughts on “Dyson Developing A Consumer EV With Aid Of UK Government Funding

  • Pretty sure EV Dyson designs is going to suck big time, or blow really hard.

    • I vote suck. The entire thing will be built out of plastic.

      • Using vacuum motors?

  • Smart move, if they actually can produce the battery, is to license it to whomever wants to use it. If it is as good as they claim they could be making money on huge numbers of sales overnight rather than taking many years to enter the car market.

    They run a risk by going into the car manufacturing business. Someone could develop a better battery and they’d lose their investment.

    • I agree, just remember Tucker and also we’ll see if Tesla starts earning a profit in 2020 as claimed. In addition, from what I’ve read here in the past is that Ms. Sastri has claimed the solid state battery could have as much as 10 times the energy density of Li-ion batteries of a few years ago. If that is true, it will be hard to beat and why go through developing an entire car when they could get immediate return by just manufacturing batteries.

    • There are multiple teams going for the solid state battery. I’m hoping several crack that nut.

    • They first have to prove their battery is safe in a vehicle, the best and easiest way to do that would be to either buy or set up a small car company developed a car to show off the technology. An there many small to medium size car production companies in the UK Dyson could buy or it could go it alone, there a hell of a lot of talented motor car designers and engineers for Dyson to hire in the UK.

      What will be interesting to is when build a factory for it batteries and what size it going to be.

      • First use will likely be cell phones, laptops and power tools. Car companies like Tesla would be more than glad to test anything they could produce.

  • This could be the first time in history when a British made vehicle doesn’t leak oil.

    • But can you imagine them building 300V circuits instead of the harmless 12? 🙂

      • 🙂

        Can I just state for the record that I am British and I own a Dyson hoover.

        • No, you own a Dyson vacuum cleaner – Hoover is a US brand!

          • (Karl is in the UK. They hoover….)

          • Dohhhh

          • It’s now become generic, the ultimate accolade, like Coke.

    • You are wrong: the Sinclair C5 did not leak oil!

      • Well spotted, totally forgot about that.

    • That’s a foul calumny-British built cars are now well up to standard since they all became foreign owned .

      • The best and most fun car I have ever owned was one of these. Exact same colour and model. It was an automatic and an absolute hoot. Care to hazard a guess as to what happened to it?

  • Plastics have come a long way back in early 70s GE had platic strong enough for use in hubs with big weight savings. Big auto makers not interested did not believe consumers wind accept. Dyson is an excellent business engineer who is playing with government money. Lou Gage

  • I thought Dyson would put SSL batteries in their vacuum cleaners first.

    Mobile phones would love SSL batteries because it would make phones lighter.

    And then there are power tools.

  • Dyson has a track record of innovative electrical products that sell, and money. Any startup going into evs at this late stage against heavy competition is very risky, but Dyson has a much better chance of pulling it off than most. One obvious possibility is building a prototype and then selling the operation to an incumbent desperate to catch up.

    • I don’t think would find a buy for the operation, such a start up would be a good way to prove their battery and possible electric engines work to other motor companies.

  • Maybe Dyson can dig up the blueprints of the Sinclair C5. 😉

  • I hope they succeed, they are my go to for vacuums and are both much more expensive and much better than anyone else….

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