TRansport

Is Dyson building an electric car?

By Oliver Smith 29 March 2016
James Dyson unveils the Dyson 360 Eye robot in Japan. Pic: YouTube/Dyson
Sir James Dyson revealing the company's robotic vacuum cleaner.
Summary

Forget vacuum cleaners, Britain's engineering giant is rumoured to be working on an electric car.

Forget Tesla and Nissan’s Leaf, soon you might be driving a Dyson electric car.

The revelation came last week when the Government accidentally mentioned the secret Dyson electric car project in its National Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

“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 document revealed.

Read more: Dyson is proof that Britain can build great hardware

Any reference to Dyson’s “new battery electric vehicle” has since been removed and the company said it “never comment[s] on products that are in development.”

But with Dyson’s expertise in battery tech and the small electric motors that power its vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and room fans, the idea of Dyson building an electric car has been floated several times.

Read more: A look inside Dyson’s house of the future

“We are ruling nothing out,” said Dyson CEO, Max Conze, last year when asked about the company’s plans for an electric car.

“Like our friends in Cupertino [Apple] we are also unhealthily obsessive when it comes to taking apart our products to make them better.”

Just last month the company revealed that it would start ploughing £1bn into new battery technologies, founder Sir James Dyson at the time said:

“By ramping up our investment in technology and expanding research and development we are developing machines that perform better and disrupt the status quo.”

If the signals are true and if Dyson’s electric car ever makes it to market, it could become one of the last British-owned, British-made cars on the roads, backed by the business’s nearly £500m in annual profits.