What happened to Dyson's EV Dream?
Hello and welcome to another ChargeSmart blog! Today we will be talking about Dyson's electric car dream that was recently scrapped.
Last week, we covered a story about Nio's financial troubles and this week we will have to be the bearer of bad news again as we tell you about what happened to Dyson's EV dream.
To start this story, we have to go back to the beginning! No, not the beginning of time but rather the beginning of Dyson's 25 year long journey with the car industry. Sir James Dyson is a British inventor, he's the one responsible for those hugely expensive vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans that people marvel at in the tech shops. In 1993, Dyson created an air filter for a vehicle's exhaust system that was able tot rap 95% of the harmful gasses, carmakers quickly rejected his product as the filter needed to be changed often. He later said that the biggest hindrance to his filter was in fact the government who didn't really care about global warming at that point and so neither did the manufacturers. That started Dyson on a journey to beat the car manufacturers at their own game, his long dream to create an electric car eventually came to a close earlier this year.
Dyson's EV Project in a Nutshell
Dyson were unbelievably close to launching their own electric car! They had purchased a disused air force base where they were already testing prototypes of the car. They already had plans in place to build a factory and they even had all the supply chain stuff in place along with a potential dealer network. One employee even said that they had nearly finished the owner's manual. So what happened then? What caused Dyson to shut down this 20 year old project? Well, it was simply too expensive to make. The difference being that Dyson had a choice. They are not an automaker who has had to develop EV cars because it is the way of the future, Dyson have their vacuums and other products. They also spent around 2.5 billion GBP so far but that sounds like a measly figure compared to the 50 billion that Volkswagen have spent on their EV project. VW also said that this amount of money wasn't enough so they have partnered with Ford! That is the sort of financial muscle Dyson were up against, some would say they simply underestimated the cost of entering the car industry.
Dyson had planned to put their car on sale late 2020 but then delayed that date to 2021. The patent applications showed their product would be a large saloon and would be more expensive than most other cars on the market. Dyson had also recruited experienced engineers from Aston Martin and Jaguar to work on the prototypes while veteran Dyson employees focused on the traditions of the founder and tried to play around with the design to make it distinct enough.
The pressure to make the design 'Dyson' enough kept costs climbing and by the time the calendar had reached October this year, the Singapore manufacturing plant wasn't ready. October 10th was the day it all stopped and 498 staff learnt the fate of the project.
What went wrong?
By the time October 10th had come around, Dyson simply could not afford to compete with the automotive industry. They had tried hard to find a buyer for the project but there was no luck. However, the company acted responsibly and relocated staff to other branches of the company and assisted those who did not wish to continue at Dyson with finding roles elsewhere. Dyson could not compete with the deep pockets of established automakers or the venture capital backed startup that is Tesla. The car industry is a tough line of business to be in and Dyson's focus on innovation and being different to the rest meant they couldn't fit the bill in the end. Then there was the added weight of selecting Singapore as the manufacturing hub for the new electric car, they even moved their headquarters over there! People were quick to question the decision as Singapore isn't well known for its cheap manufacturing, instead a place like China or Malaysia would have been much more suitable.