Dyson, the engineering company best known for its vacuum cleaners and fans, plans to spend £2bn developing a “radical” electric car.
The battery-powered vehicle is due to be launched in 2020.
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.
Dyson says 400 staff have been working on the secret project for the past two years at its headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
However, the car does not yet exist, with no prototype built, and a factory site is yet to be chosen.
Sir James declined to give further details of the project. “Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential,” he told staff in an email.
Important points that are undecided or secret include the firm’s expected annual production total, the cost of the car, or its range or top speed. Sir James said about £1bn would be spent on developing the car, with another £1bn on making the battery.
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.”
‘Solving 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.
Source: BBC.com and phys.org