James Dyson, a British billionaire and inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner has been quietly working on an ambitious £2.5bn electric car project since 2015.
Over four hundred engineers are working on the project and Dyson has been hiring top talent from British automakers including Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover. Aston Martin’s former director of purchasing, David Wyer, joined Dyson as head of procurement in August. Benjamin Strong, formerly the Range Rover platform engineering manager at Jaguar Land Rover’s SVO division, joined Dyson in May as operations manager. Last year Aston Martin’s product development director, Ian Minards, moved to Dyson with the same title. Also joining last year from Aston Martin was its senior aerodynamicist Peter Rawcliffe, who took the same title at Dyson. BMW’s retiring head of global sales, Ian Robertson, is a non-executive director at Dyson.
So far so good and the big question: is the prototype ready? Actually no because tech-savvy Dyson claims that its expertise in solid-state battery technology and electric motors to be found in his innovative vacuum cleaners and other products such as bladeless fans and air purifiers will pave the way for electric cars which he hopes to produce and commercially launch by 2020.
Dyson said his ambition to go it alone was driven by the car industry’s dismissal of an idea he had of applying his cyclonic technology that revolutionized vacuum cleaners to handle diesel emissions in car exhaust systems in the 1990s.
Dyson said his electric car would be “radically different” than those being designed by other carmakers, including Tesla. “There’s no point doing something that looks like everyone else’s,” he said. “It is not a sports car and not a very cheap car.”