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Dyson Reveals Plans to Build Radical Electric Car

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【Summary】Dyson, the high-tech firm known best for its vortex vacuum cleaner and bladeless fan, has announced plans to build an electric car.

Original Eric Walz    Sep 26, 2017 5:42 PM PT
Dyson Reveals Plans to Build Radical Electric Car

Dyson, the high-tech firm known best for its vortex vacuum cleaner and bladeless fans, has announced plans to build an electric car. Founder and inventor Sir James Dyson is revealed the plans to build electric cars in Britain today. The company has been busy recruiting talent from the automotive and technology industry.

It is thought Dyson will unveil the early stages of an electric vehicle which could be built at its headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

This would pose a threat to the Silicon Valley giant Tesla, the self-driving car firm founded by billionaire Elon Musk which has already shaken up the older, more established motoring firms.

Expectations about what Dyson was developing mounted after mainstream car makers accelerated their plans for electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin, among many others, are preparing to launch their own new all-electric and hybrid cars.

Dyson Recruits Talent

Last year Aston Martin's product development director Ian Minards who is responsible for creating many of James Bond's favourite cars was recruited by Dyson. He was followed last month by Aston's long-serving director of purchasing David Wyer.

It is understood that a designer from Tesla has also been wooed to Dyson.

A car division would also signal a significant expansion of Dyson which, until now, has focused on consumer goods. Dyson's cyclonic, bagless vacuum cleaner took 15 years, 5,126 prototypes and his life savings to get onto the market, and it shook up the entire industry.

A final clue to Dyson's plans come from the fact that BMW's current global director of sales and marketing Dr Ian Robertson, who has overseen much of the German car-giant's electric and autonomous car program, is also non-executive director of Dyson.

Meanwhile, Dyson has bought a solid-state battery company and been recruiting computer experts from Silicon Valley and experts in machine learning—essential for the development of self-driving cars.

The Government, which says all cars must have an electric element by 2040 has also funded

Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at its headquarters. This will secure $234 million of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering.

Dyson has invested $3.4 billion in artificial intelligence research on a new 517-acre campus in Wiltshire, spending $78 million on the specialist battery and opening two flagship shops, one in London and the other, New York.

A spokesman for Dyson would not discuss future products, however he said, "We have historically recruited from a wide range of backgrounds as we are a broad church and are developing a multitude of technologies. We plan to recruit an extra 3,000 engineers and scientists by 2020 and are working with more than 40 universities globally."

Dyson's late entrance into the automotive arena comes as established carmakers face a barrage of challenges to their business models, from the need to invest in electric vehicles and self-driving technology, to the potential for ride-sharing partly replacing traditional ownership in some big cities.

Dyson also said it believed its development of solid-state batteries which can hold higher power and charge in less time than conventional lithium-ion batteries — would help it compete with more established rivals.

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