Noted dust magnate Sir James Dyson is moving ahead at cyclonic speed with his electric car endeavors, hiring 300 new employees to work on an EV due for launch in 2020.
Apparently seeing a vacuum in the car market, Dyson intends to use its expertise and recent acquisition of a battery company to clean up the world’s air pollution. Plans are moving at such a swift rate that the EV team is moving into a new state-of-the-art 750 acre campus, Dyson’s second R&D campus in Britain.
Dyson already makes a V8; sadly, it is simply the name of their cordless stick vacuum cleaner. However, if one puts all the pieces together, a low-volume EV from Dyson is not too far-fetched.
After spending $90 million in 2015 to acquire battery company Sakti3, Dyson does now appear to possess the technology to realistically push forward with the development of an EV. Sakti3, a startup company with connections to the University of Michigan, claims to have developed solid-state lithium-ion batteries which nearly double the punch provided by those found in California’s favorite EV – Tesla.
Claims aside, if Dyson can indeed figure out the solid-state puzzle it will be a huge revolution in battery technology. Right now, lithium-ion batteries generally operate at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, necessitating complex cooling solutions. Instead of a pressurized liquid electrolyte, solid-state batteries can incorporate a thin layer of non-flammable material to act as both the separator (keeping + and – electrodes from playing together) and electrolyte.
Back in September, the company starting making noise about its forthcoming EV, releasing a wealth of information about the product on Twitter. In the statement, Sir James references his ambition to find a solution to the global problem of air pollution, a goal that certainly aligns with the production of an EV.
— Dyson (@Dyson) September 26, 2017
At that time, Dyson stated they had “over 400” people working on the EV project, meaning the new hires bring the total number of workers toiling away at a Dyson electric car to be in the neighborhood of 700 people. This, then, sure doesn’t seem like a flash in the pan or some sort of PR stunt. It’s worth noting that James Dyson himself is reportedly investing at least £2 billion of his own money to bring this car to market.
A company seeming to suddenly appear with a ready-for-market electric vehicle is not entirely without precedent. In 2017, a company called Bollinger showed up with its B1, all-electric off-roader complete with impressive off-road creds and t-square styling cues. Dyson (both the company and the inventor) has a long history of innovation and is certainly not risk-adverse, so the thought of a low-volume EV from the company does hold water.
Dyson is based in the U.K. and is a privately-held company. Its revenue has grown to £3.5 billion in 2017 from £1.7 in 2015. Almost three-quarters of that revenue growth has come from Asia. Last year’s earnings topped $1 billion USD.