In August, we reported on the new Dyson technology center at the former Hullavington airfield in the UK. At that time, Dyson said he was interested in producing electric automobiles but hadn’t quite made up his mind whether to build an electric car factory in the UK or in Singapore, where his company has a large manufacturing presence.
As of October 23, that question has been resolved in favor of Singapore. According to a company press release e-mailed to CleanTechnica, the Dyson board of directors has given its approval for the construction of a new 2-story EV factory in Singapore. Construction is set to begin in December and finish in 2020. The first production vehicles are expected to roll off the assembly in early 2021. The production manufacturing facility will build on Dyson’s existing advanced motor and battery expertise in Singapore and draw on the nation’s expertise in Research & Development, advanced manufacturing, automation, and access to supply chains, the company says.
What those first vehicles will be is unknown at the present time, but the siting of the factory may offer some clues. Dyson CEO Jim Rowan said in a letter to employees.
“The decision of where to make our car is complex, based on supply chains, access to markets, and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions. I am delighted to let you know that the Dyson Board has now decided that our first automotive manufacturing facility will be in Singapore. We will begin construction in December and it will be completed in 2020, meeting our project timeline.
“Our existing footprint and team in Singapore, combined with the nation’s significant advanced manufacturing expertise, made it a front runner. Singapore also offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce. Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high quality technology loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle….It is a fast-moving, exciting, and pivotal project for Dyson; thank you for all you are doing to help us realize our ambitions.”
This is just a guess, but that “access to markets” phrase suggests the first Dyson vehicle will be compact enough to fit comfortably in the crowded metropolitan areas common throughout most parts of the world. It also suggests that China is not a prime target for the Dyson electric car. Import tariffs there would make it uncompetitive against locally produced vehicles, which is why Tesla and Volkswagen are both building factories there.
James Dyson says he became interested in building an electric car 25 years ago when he discovered how much pollution was spewing out of the tailpipes of diesel-powered cars in the UK. Whatever the Dyson electric car turns out to be, it is certain to be well engineered and another important step forward in the clean transportation revolution.
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