Dyson investing £2bn in electric car with hi-tech battery unit
Sir James Dyson has revealed a £2bn investment in the development of an electric vehicle that is to be launched in 2020. Half of that investment will go directly towards the vehicle's creation, while the remaining £1bn will fund battery technology that could be adapted for a variety of uses.
The announcement was sent out to Dyson employees yesterday.
"I wanted you to hear it directly from me: Dyson has begun work on a battery electric vehicle, due to be launched by 2020," Sir James said.
"We've started building an exceptional team that combines top Dyson engineers with talented individuals from the automotive industry.
"The team is already over 400 strong and we are recruiting aggressively.
"I'm committed to investing £2bn on this endeavour."
He said the project would "grow quickly", but did not release any further information, saying competition for new tech in the auto industry was "fierce".
"We must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential," he said.
The technology tycoon said the idea had been brewing for decades amid concerns about global air pollution and vehicle emissions.
Sir James pointed to prototypes the company developed back in 1993 that would be fitted to the vehicle's exhaust system to trap harmful particulates from exhaust.
Dyson scrapped the project as "nobody at the time was interested".
He said that while government has adopted so-called clean diesel engines, major auto manufacturers had since "duped" clean air regulations, leaving cities full of "smog-belching cars, lorries and buses".
Sir James added: "Some years ago, observing that automotive firms were not changing their spots, I committed the company to develop new battery technologies.
"I believed that electrically-powered vehicles would solve the vehicle pollution problem. Dyson carried on innovating.
"At this moment we finally have the opportunity to bring all our technologies together into a single product.
"Rather than filtering emissions at the exhaust pipe, today we have the ability to solve it at the source."
Meanwhile, US electric car-maker Tesla's keenly-awaited Model 3 has gone on sale.
The five-seat car will be able to travel 215 miles on a single charge and will be sporty, accelerating from zero to 60mph in under six seconds.
Company chief executive Elon Musk had said production was on track to start in July, but Tesla often faces delays in getting vehicles to market.
The California-based company aims to make 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by the end of this year and 10,000 per week in 2018.
The firm's last new vehicle, the Model X SUV, was delayed nearly 18 months.
However, Mr Musk has said that the Model 3 is much simpler to make.