Dyson to make electric cars by 2020

September 26, 2017
British inventor James Dyson, who is best known for his bagless vacuum cleaners, on September 26, 2017, announced a plan to produce electric cars by 2020 with a £2.0 billion (2.3 billion euro, $2.7 billion) investment

James Dyson announced Tuesday he was investing £2.0 billion ($2.7 billion, 2.3 billion euro) into developing an electric car by 2020, a new venture for the British inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner.

The 70-year-old British entrepreneur said work began two and a half years ago on a project which he hopes will help tackle the scourge of air pollution.

"Dyson has begun work on a battery electric vehicle, due to be launched by 2020," he said in an email to employees, referring to his eponymous company.

"The team is already over 400 strong, and we are recruiting aggressively. I'm committed to investing £2 billion on this endeavour," he said.

Details of the project remain top secret, but he said every element would be designed by his company.

He told journalists in London that half the investment would go into the car, the other half into the battery.

In seeking to launch his own electric car without the aide of an established partner, Dyson follows the lead of US firm Tesla, founded by business magnate Elon Musk.

But it will put him up against major players in the automobile industry who are making their own forays into new technology.

Asked if he intended to make a profit, he said: "I hope so. That's the idea."

'Solve it at the source'

Dyson made his name with the bagless vacuum cleaner, but the company currently holds more than 10,000 patents, and produces hair dryers, fans, heaters and lighting.

In his email to staff, he revealed this is not his first attempt to enter the automotive sector.

In the 1990s he developed a filter that could be fitted on car exhaust systems, but said "nobody at the time was interested".

He warned that poor government policies to tackle air pollution meant that "developed and developing cities are full of smog-belching cars, lorries and buses".

"It is a problem that others are ignoring," he said.

But Dyson said he never gave up his ambition to find a solution.

"At this moment, we finally have the opportunity to bring all our technologies together into a single product," he wrote to staff.

"Rather than filtering emissions at the exhaust pipe, today we have the ability to solve it at the source."

The research for the new vehicle will be done in Britain, but Dyson said he would decide in the coming months where the manufacturing would take place.

The company employs 8,500 people—4,000 in Britain—with £1.4 billion in annual turnover and has a presence in 65 countries across the world.

"Where we make the battery, we will make the car," he said, adding: "We want to be near our suppliers, where logistically it makes sense."

James Dyson: Vacuum cleaner king turns to electric cars

Britain's James Dyson, who announced a plan to develop electric cars on Tuesday, is the self-styled king of vacuum cleaners who revolutionised the household appliance and became a global brand.

The astonishing success of his bagless cyclone vacuum cleaners which he invented in the late 1970s have made him one of Britain's best-known businessmen and drawn comparisons with Apple's Steve Jobs.

The 70-year-old billionaire—born in the coastal town of Cromer in Norfolk in eastern England—is also a vocal Brexit supporter and threw his weight behind leaving the European Union in last year's shock referendum.

Dyson was born in 1947 and studied at the Royal College of Art in London, where he specialised in interior design and furniture in the late 1960s.

After a brief stint at engineering firm Rotork, he decided to establish his own company in 1974.

His lightbulb moment came in 1978 when he became frustrated at the poor performance of his vacuum cleaner when renovating his country house.

Dyson took the appliance apart and discovered a vacuum bag that was clogged with dust, hurting its suction power.

Fast forward five years, and, after more than five thousand failed protoypes, the so-called "dual cyclone" bagless Dyson vacuum cleaner was born.

Dyson Group now employs 6,000 people with £1.4 billion in annual turnover and a presence in 65 countries across the world.

The company holds more than 10,000 patents and its products also include bladeless fans, washing machines and hairdryers.

He announced his latest venture on Tuesday saying he wanted to tackle Britain's air pollution crisis and would invest £2.0 billion (2.3 billion euro, $2.7 billion) in developing the car and battery.

"The team is already over 400 strong, and we are recruiting aggressively. I'm committed to investing £2 billion on this endeavour," he said.

Referring to air pollution, he added: "It is a problem that others are ignoring."

Dyson is also one of Britain's biggest landowners, with around 33,000 acres (13,354 hectares), according to a recent interview with the Spectator magazine.

'Failure is exciting'

"I really embrace failure, you learn nothing by a success but failure is exciting because something has gone wrong and you've had a real visceral experience, so I like it and you learn from it," he told BBC Radio in a recent interview.

"What happens is you work on a problem and you stumble across a solution. You can never calculate it or sit at a desk and work out a solution.

"You have to build a prototype and watch it fail—and then overcome the failure," added Dyson, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2006 for his services to business.

More recently, the inventor threw his weight behind Brexit, arguing that EU exit would not impact the nation's trading position.

"So if we leave the EU no one will trade with us? Cobblers," he said ahead of the June 2016 referendum.

He added: "We will create more wealth and more jobs by being outside the EU. We will be in control of our destiny.

"And control, I think, is the most important thing in life and business."

Dyson, who owns 100 percent of his company, is the 414th richest person in the world and the 13th richest in Britain, according to Forbes' rich list real-time ranking.

His total fortune is estimated at $4.2 billion (3.5 billion euros).

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17 comments

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ab3a
3 / 5 (8) Sep 26, 2017
I think this car is going to suck.

(I'm not apologizing for this, it had to be said)
delkin1
5 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2017
So, you're not a fan?
Whydening Gyre
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2017
Ba-dum-bump for both of you...:-)
Will it also eliminate the need for street cleaning equipment...?
(I'm not apologizing, either...:-P)
Bombillo
1 / 5 (3) Sep 27, 2017
So he is going to engineer a novel battery solution? This guy is delusional. It is one thing to design an overpriced now obsolete vacuum cleaner, quite another to enter the world of battery chemistry, with his art degree in hand...
rrrander
not rated yet Sep 27, 2017
Dyson and all bagless vacuums are unsanitary. Before, you just got rid of the bag. Instead, you have to empty the vacuum container, spewing dust into the air as it's emptied, so so much for hepa filters!.
dirk_bruere
5 / 5 (2) Sep 27, 2017
@Bombillo - you don't "enter the world of battery chemistry" - you buy it. Just like Musk.
And whoever makes the first car with 400 mile range that costs no more than equivalent ICE, wins.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2017
"So if we leave the EU no one will trade with us? Cobblers," he said

The funny thing is - if they want to sell their stuff in the EU then their products have to comply with EU regulations in any case. So nothing changes (except that added tarriffs will make it harder to be competitive)

And whoever makes the first car with 400 mile range that costs no more than equivalent ICE, wins.

Who needs 400 mile range? Practically no one, that's who. A large (gas) tank is only an argument when you don't fill up daily (which you don't with ICEs, but which you *do* with EVs).

As for price: EVs are already cheaper than ICEs. People are just not looking at total cost of ownership. Most people somehow only see what's right in front of them - which is the purchasing price.
Smart people (mostly banks) have figured this out and consequently make the dumb ones pay (a lot more) over time rather than less up front.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) Sep 27, 2017
Who needs 400 mile range? Practically no one, that's who. A large (gas) tank is only an argument when you don't fill up daily (which you don't with ICEs, but which you *do* with EVs).


Let's look at an analog: wouldn't you rather have a smartphone you only need to recharge once a week even in heavy use, than one that just barely makes it through one working day?

Nobody "needs" more than the bare minimum, but again it's like trying to design an average size shoe for the average size person, and finding out that it isn't really a good fit for anybody.

As for price: EVs are already cheaper than ICEs. People are just not looking at total cost of ownership.


Bullcrap. EVs have half the lifespan of ICE cars because the battery rots away and is costly to replace, which impacts their total cost of ownership in a significant way. While the EV might be a better option compared to e.g a new BMW, most people buy significantly down market and mostly second hand cars.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Sep 27, 2017
What I mean is, if you just need a car that goes, you can get one for about $8-9000 plus taxes. Anything above that is luxury, and if we take the same argument ("who needs a big battery?") and apply the sentiment here, we can equally ask, who needs a better car?

Like:

http://www.autoex...v-prices
The Dacia Logan MCV has become the UK's cheapest estate, with prices starting from only £6,995


You just can't get an electric car at that price. Well, you can, but it's going to be absolute shit. Even if you were to buy two of these cars, one for spare parts, it's still going to be far cheaper to own and run than the cheapest equivalent EV.

The EV can offer substandard performance (low range) at prices normally reserved for upmarket luxury cars, and normal performance (normal range) at prices for high-end luxury cars and supercars. At normal prices for normal people, the EV has nothing to offer.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Sep 27, 2017
Compare and contrast:

http://www.carsco...-50.html

The zero emission e-Golf can now travel 186 miles on a full battery charge on the NEDC cycle. VW says that the actual real-life driving range of an e-Golf is around 124 miles, taking into consideration factors like driving style and other parameters.

The extra range was achieved thanks to the bigger battery pack, which has a capacity of 35.8 kWh, up from 24.2kWh of the previous version. Power has also been increased to 136PS (100kW), 15Kw more than the previous model, as well as torque which now is rated at 290Nm (213lb-ft).

Prices for the updated VW e-Golf start at £32,190 OTR, which drops to £27,690 with the government's Plug-In Car Grant included.


You can buy two all-options-included Dacia Logan MCVs for £18,000 vs. one e-Golf, and that still leaves you with almost £10k for petrol!
Zzzzzzzz
5 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2017
The EV can offer substandard performance (low range) at prices normally reserved for upmarket luxury cars, and normal performance (normal range) at prices for high-end luxury cars and supercars. At normal prices for normal people, the EV has nothing to offer.


This is nothing but fecal regurgitation. That is already clear, and will become patently obvious to even the most casual observer very soon.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2017
This is nothing but fecal regurgitation. That is already clear, and will become patently obvious to even the most casual observer very soon.


Whatever you wish to believe.

For most people, the reality is that they cannot afford to buy £32,190 EVs even with government subsidies. Approximately 76% of cars sold every year are second hand.

http://www.raccar...r-market

Britain remains a country in love with the used car, buying 7.1 million of them in 2012 (compared to around 2.2 million new cars).

The key driver for this is price: 64 per cent of buyers say it is the main factor they use in searching for a used car – far more than the next most important reason, brand, which is a priority for 39 per cent of people.

Satisfaction rises in line with purchase price, says BCA: it reaches 97 per cent for buyers of cars priced £5000-£15,000 – and actually hits 100 per cent for cars costing more than £20,000.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2017
The problem with EVs and the second had market is, that there is barely any second hand market for EVs. They depreceate in value very quickly as the best-by date of the battery approaches.

A third of the second hand market is cars 9 years and older. There's no lithium battery on the EV market that is built to last more than a decade (there are some, but they're not used for their high price). With the battery gone, the car is scrap because it costs more to replace than the value of a 9 year old car. The car's value drops well before that, because who would pay thousands of pounds for a car that is only going to break down in a year or two?

Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2017
Another point of comparison:

https://www.autot...san/leaf

Used Nissan Leafs at 3 years go for about £10k down from a starting price of £24k to £28k (after £4,500 subsidy)

Now, the Leaf is built on the Nissan Tiida/Versa which was restyled for the European market as the Nissan Pulsar. That is basically the same car on the inside, but with different exterior panels and a petrol or diesel engine instead of electric drive, and on the second hand market it also fetches about £10k at 3 years.

Now the difference is, the Pulsar costs £16k - £19k new, so it has lost only 37...47% of its value in three years, whereas the Leaf has lost 58...65% of its value. It's depreceating much faster.

Why, because the second hand buyers aren't interested in the fact that it's electric. They're not willing to pay any more for a car.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2017
If you do the math, for a new car owner, buying the Leaf instead of the Pulsar, you lose 8,000 - 9,000 pounds in difference when you sell the car after three years, which is enough to buy you a about 80k miles worth of petrol for the Pulsar. The difference is enough to pay your insurance, your fuel for three years, whatever scheduled maintenance, and still you have money left over.

So even if you can afford new cars, buying an electric one makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
ab3a
1 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2017
Who needs 400 mile range? Practically no one, that's who. A large (gas) tank is only an argument when you don't fill up daily (which you don't with ICEs, but which you *do* with EVs).


No, actually, that "400 mile range" is not really 400 miles. Just like gasoline engines, lots of start/stop city driving will cost you performance. Likewise, heating or cooling will also cost you performance. And to some extent, nighttime use of lighting will cost you too.

Further, cold battery capacity is significantly less than warm battery capacity. Considering all these factors, I would not be surprised to see range cut to a small fraction of that "400 miles" during the dead of winter.
greenonions1
not rated yet Sep 27, 2017
It is of course early days in the EV world - and we don't have a lot of real world data. What data we do have is suggesting that Tesla's are holding up very well. This youtube gives a good discussion of what data we have to this point. https://www.youtu...i4ihsJ1w Extrapolation tells us that with fairly standard usage - batteries are going to last well past 20 years. The newer batteries that are going into the model three are better. My Honda Civic has 11 years, and 80,000 miles on it. I am hoping it will last a couple more years - but one major repair on it will make it disposable. With my 35 mile a day round trip commute - or my wife's 25 mile a day round trip commute - a 200 mile range car would of course be overkill. We will for sure be considering an electric when our current babies croak.

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