Dyson Ltd., the British company best known for its vacuum cleaners, is working on an electric car that it says will be launched by 2020.
In a recent email to staff Dyson founder and chief engineer James Dyson said he has a team of 400 engineers and others working on the car.
Dyson recently hired a new chief spokesman, Ricardo Reyes, who used to lead communications at Tesla Inc. It acquired a Michigan-based battery technology company, Sakti3, in 2015.
James Dyson says he’s committed to investing US$2.4 billion in the project.
Dyson has been working on vehicle technology on and off since 1990 when its engineers designed a filter that could trap diesel pollutants.
“I’m not a Johnny-come-lately to electric cars,” James Dyson said. “It’s been my ambition since 1998 when I was rejected by the industry that has happily been creating dirty vehicles, and governments have kept on allowing it.”
He would not offer details about what the vehicle will look like or what features it will have, citing fierce competition in the auto industry. He simply said that consumers will have to “wait and see,” adding that, “We don’t have an existing chassis … We’re starting from scratch. What we’re doing is quite radical.”
James Dyson did say, however, that the car would be expensive. While he didn’t give hints to price, he did say that “Maybe the better figure is how much of a deposit they would be prepared to put down.”
He also added that manufacturing of the vehicles will take place in the far east as electric vehicles have been more widely accepted there than in, say, the United Kingdom.
“We’ll choose the best place to make it and that’s where we’ll make it … Wherever we make the battery, that’s where we will make the car,” the inventor said. “We see a very large market for this car in the far east … We want to be near where our markets are and I believe the far east has reacted [to electric] more quickly than the UK or Europe.”
— With files from ASW staff