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Dyson developing an electric car

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Dyson is developing an electric car at its headquarters in Wiltshire with help from public money, according to government documents.

The company, which makes a range of products that utilise the sort of highly efficient motors needed for an electric car such as vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and bladeless fans, last year refused to rule out rumours it was building one.

But on Wednesday, the government appeared to have accidentally disclosed Dyson is working on one, along with other big companies outside of the automotive industry, such as Apple.

“The government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering,” said the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, published on Wednesday.

When Dyson CEO, Max Conze, was asked last year if the company was working on an electric car, he said: “We are ruling nothing out. Like our friends in Cupertino [Apple] we are also unhealthily obsessive when it comes to taking apart our products to make them better.”

Dyson recently reported profits up 20% in 2015, driven by strong growth in China, and said it plans to invest £1bn in battery technology over the next five years. Last October, Dyson bought solid-state battery company, Sakti3, for $90m, which founder Sir James Dyson said had “developed a breakthrough in battery technology.”

Asked if the company was, as the government suggested, developing an electric car, a Dyson spokesman said: “We never comment on products that are in development.”

The Guardian has also contacted the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles, which encourages the roll-out of electric vehicles as a way to cut air pollution and lower carbon emissions, and is awaiting details on the exact level of funding.

Dyson, 68, has a long history of inventions. He designed the Rotork Sea Truck, a fast cargo boat in 1970, which has been used by the military and is still sold today. In 1974, he designed the Ballbarrow, a barrow with a ball replacing the wheel, having been frustrated by wheelbarrows getting stuck in mud on a building site.

His breakthrough was the bagless vaucum cleaner, which was inspired by air cyclones used in sawmills to suck up sawdust. Since then, he has created bladeless fans and the Airblade hand dryer.

Many of Dyson’s devices use small, light and efficient electric motors developed over 10 years by his company, which may find application in developing a new electric car. Dyson is a now worth several billion pounds and in 2014 pledged his company would spend £1.5bn on research and development to create future products, aiming to launch 100 new electrical products by 2018.

The Guardian

23 Comments on "Dyson developing an electric car"

  1. onlooker on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 6:54 pm 

    Oh good to know that the company that makes motors for vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and bladeless fans will save the day and rescue motorists around the world from the agony of not being able to drive. World wide driving = A luxury that no longer will be viable or affordable.

  2. geopressure on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 7:18 pm 

    Considering the rate of growth Asian Oil Demand, the only way for the West to retain world domination over the longer term is to find a means of making the Internal Combustion Engine Obsolete…

    A HUGE amount of Western Government’s Defense Spending goes toward developing new electric car technologies…

    Not only will a future of higher oil prices shift the balance of international power away from the united states, but there are also repercussions within the United States…

    Oil Companies & Royalty Owners are typically republican… Royalties are considered to be excess income by most families – meaning that these funds are more likely to end up going towards a charity, church, or political campaign than most sources of income…

    Therefore, the higher the price of oil is, the better funded Republican House & Senatorial Campaigns are…

    This explains why Republican Presidents of late get along with Russia fine & why Obama deliberately picked a fight with Russia… Not only is Obama fighting to retain world domination, but the same fight allows him to dominate the political landscape here in the US & keep his party in power…

    This is all pretty clear when looking at the Monthly Chart & the price actions in the 2 to 2.5 years preceding every other Presidential Election…

  3. makati1 on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 7:46 pm 

    Electric cars … Hahahahahaha!

    Dream on all you techies that believe this shit. Think about it. If the world TOTALLY stopped making combustion engine cars and switched 100% to making electric cars, it would take over 15 years to just replace the approximately 1,000,000,000 cars presently existing across the world. What is the odds of that happening? ZERO!

    At a cost of over $50 TRILLION dollars, in a world where the incomes of those car owners are shrinking to subsistence level, who is going to be able to afford them?

    Answer. No one.

    Dream on techies. Dream on.

  4. Newfie on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 8:07 pm 

    Um… Where will the electricity come from for the 1,000,000,000 electric cars in the future ? ROTFLMAO.

  5. HARM on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 8:20 pm 


    From the same place the 1 billion electric cars are, of course: the technology fairy.

    You people here are getting way too cynical. #everythingisawesome

  6. PeterEV on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 8:41 pm 

    Most EV owners also have renewables installed and pump “sunshine” or “wind” into their batteries. The difference in the cost of gasoline vs electricity to go the same distance pays fairly close to the cost of a replacement pack. Add in the reduced maintenance costs also helps. Eventually, the cost of an EV will be less than that of an ICE.

    The auto companies would rather sell spark plugs and oil changes than battery packs. But all these companies see the writing on the wall and are developing EVs. Now enters a Vacuum Cleaner company; that’s gotta suck for the naysayers!!!

  7. Davy on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 8:47 pm 

    “Most EV owners also have renewables installed and pump “sunshine” or “wind” into their batteries.” That assertion sounds like a stretch Peter. It would be nice if it were true.

  8. Anonymous on Sat, 26th Mar 2016 11:34 pm 

    Thank goodness. Another EV manufacturer. But in Britain, but that’s ok too. Because if there is one thing this world needs more of, its cars.

  9. Keith McClary on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 12:13 am 

    Interesting follow-up:

    The Guardian reported on Wednesday that government documents had revealed the British company was working on a battery electric vehicle with help from taxpayers’ money. The government’s National infrastructure delivery plan said the project was expected to create more than 500 jobs and generate £182m of investment.

    But by Thursday morning the document had been altered, without any indication that it had been changed, to remove the reference to an electric car.

    The original version of the government’s document read: “The government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering.”

    The current version reads: “The government is providing a grant of up to £16m to Dyson to support research and development for battery technology at their site in Malmesbury.”

  10. Dubya on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 12:23 am 

    I agree with the general attitude above, but if we as a society actually decide to stop using ICE vehicles it might be nice to have ambulances, fire trucks, police cars, taxis, buses and trains. So it seems reasonable to devote a little engineering to EVs while the rest of society is busy designing New, bigger pickup trucks, awesome sports stadia and more scientific industrial food substances.

    It is unlikely that we can run modern society on renewables, but a little electricity would be mighty handy to run my solar pump & not have to bike to the next town in winter.

  11. dooma on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 12:57 am 

    “Thank goodness. Another EV manufacturer. But in Britain, but that’s ok too. Because if there is one thing this world needs more of, its cars.”

    British cars at that! They couldn’t make a reliable car if their life depended on it. hahahaha

    And as far a Dyson’s vacuum cleaners go, they are the product of a very clever marketing campaign. I fell for it and it is the biggest piece of shit I ever bought!

  12. Go Speed Racer on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 2:54 am 

    Hmmm, if they make vacuum cleaners, what they should really build, is an electric street sweeper. This would save a lot of fuel if all the street sweepers were made electric. The surplus gasoline ones could be sold to 3rd world countries where they would get old and belch blue smoke.

  13. Davy on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 5:28 am 

    EV and electric batteries are alternate source of power and transport. One day all of us might wake up to a different world. Our current one could fall apart quicker than we like to think. Many of us don’t give the status quo much more than a few years. How that destructive decay unfolds is not for us to know. Any sources of power like EV and batteries give us some resilience in that fall time. They are self-contained power that does not need resupply. Will they last, no. Will they replicate without fossil fuels, no. What does their terminal value matter if they provide for your immediate benefit?

    All of us are likely going to face hard times. All of us are going to draw on whatever we can for survival. The same is true for society. I myself discount and discredit green washing but I turn a blind eye to their results. Renewables and EV are going to serve a vital function for many if the grid destabilizes and fossil fuels go into shortage. It is not going to be enough to matter in the longer term and in the big scheme of things but it is going to matter to people smart enough to have invested in them for an uncertain future when this collapse process grows more dangerous. Something is better than nothing.

  14. Dooma on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 7:19 am 

    @ Speed Racer….lol

  15. Kenz300 on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 9:04 am 

    100% electric transportation and 100% solar by 2030

    Electric cars, bikes and mass transit are the future…..fossil fuel ICE cars are the past…………..

    Think teen agers vs your grand father………………….

    cell phones vs land lines…….

  16. efarmer on Sun, 27th Mar 2016 5:05 pm 

    The challenge is if he can make an electric car that doesn’t suck “properly”.

  17. meld on Mon, 28th Mar 2016 5:26 am 

    Jesus, they can’t even make decent Vacuum cleaners. They are heavy unweildly POS. The best thing they ever invented was the blade hand dryers and most people are too stupid use them properly. They’ll suck up millions in Tax payer money and then vanish into the night.

  18. PracticalMaina on Mon, 28th Mar 2016 10:46 am 

    Dyson should work on the hyperloop, plug in a shitload of vacuums at the destination and pull a vacuum. I would like taxpayer money to look into this technology.

  19. PracticalMaina on Mon, 28th Mar 2016 10:49 am 

    Tesla should make a reliable affordable electric motorcycle. One that I can plug into a solar panel when I am not on it to charge the battery’s. I think that buisness model would have made more sense, start with a technology that would be affordable to the masses within 10 years of the beginning of your company. I have to think that the motorcycle market in Asia is still larger than that of full sized vehicles.

  20. Kenz300 on Wed, 30th Mar 2016 8:56 am 

    Electric cars, bikes and mass transit are the future…..fossil fuel ICE cars are the past…………..

    Think teen agers vs your grand father………………….

    cell phones vs land lines…….

  21. PeterEV on Wed, 30th Mar 2016 11:27 am 

    All these are forecasts. We should be asking questions instead of pontificating like mini-Popes of the “Flat Earth Society”. How do we make batteries better (Google: Jeff Dahn video)? What materials are available? How am I going supply heat my house when FF are scarcer and more expensive? How can I cut down on my carbon foot print? A once in 400 year dual magnetic phase shift is about to take place on the sun. What effect will that have on solar emissions and magnetic output? How will this effect the earth’s insolation and magnetic field? What gets effective by a change in the earth’s magnetic field?

    **Make it a challenge to take the next pontification you hear and turn it into a question that you investigate.**

  22. Davy on Wed, 30th Mar 2016 11:37 am 

    Peter, what we need to be doing is changing our attitude and lifestyles then we can legitimately embrace more technology. Attempting to live as we do without fundamental changes to our way of life is just more insanity that got us here. Technology is not the answer. The answer is in each and every one of us and has to do with how we live and why we live not what we use to live. The correct answer will lead to the right tech and the right application of that tech.

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