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Dyson has scrapped its electric car project

BBC Technology 11 Oct 2019 12:38
Sir James DysonImage copyright Getty Images

Dyson, the technology company best known for its vacuum cleaners, has scrapped a project to build electric cars.

The firm, headed by British inventor Sir James Dyson, said its engineers had developed a "fantastic electric car" but that it would not hit the roads because it was not "commercially viable".

In an email sent to all employees, Sir James said the company had unsuccessfully tried to find a buyer for the project.

The division employs 500 UK workers.

Dyson had planned to invest more than £2bn in developing a "radical and different" electric vehicle, a project it launched in 2016. It said the car would not be aimed at the mass market.

Half of the funds would go towards building the car, half towards developing electric batteries.

In October 2018 Dyson revealed plans to build the car at a new plant in Singapore. It was expected to be completed next year, with the first vehicles due to roll off the production line in 2021.

Sales of electric cars are climbing rapidly. Yet they still cost more to make than conventional cars, and generate much lower profits - if any.

Even the upstart Tesla, widely credited with showing everyone else just how good electric cars could be, has burnt through mountains of cash and had to go cap in hand to investors.


The rest of the funds intended for the electric car project would still be spent on developing other products, including its battery technology, Dyson said.

"As Dyson's decision not to pursue the electric vehicle business was taken at an early stage, the disruption to its operations and workforce in Singapore will be minimal," he said.

The first cars had already been developed and were being tested.

The project employed 523 people, 500 of whom were in UK, and Sir James praised their "immense" achievements.

Image copyright Dyson

"The Dyson automotive team has developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies."

Sir James said Dyson would continue to work on the battery technology, which was used in the car.

"In summary, our investment appetite is undiminished and we will continue to deepen our roots in both the UK and Singapore," he said.

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