And the Dyson Car Project Winner is…. Singapore
Dyson, that well-known British company famous for weird and whacky vacuum cleaners, has announced that it will build its new electric car in Singapore, of all places. The company plans to ‘break ground’ on its new factory later this year, and now has the ambitious target of rolling out its first car in 2021. Let’s just hope it does not suck.
Dyson said that the decision to choose Singapore was based on the availability of engineering talent, close proximity to supply chains and, of course, closeness to some very key markets. Singapore is of course not known to be a cheap place to do business; in fact, it is amongst the world’s most expensive places, where manufacturing space is at a premium.
Undeterred, Dyson had previously said that cost is not a consideration and has already committed GBP2 billion to the project, which includes more than GBP200 million on developing the research and development and testing facility at a disused RAF base in the UK.
Dyson is already a very international company; it has some 4,800 employees in the UK, but also employs 1,100 in Singapore, 1,300 in Malaysia, 1,000 in China and some 800 in the Philippines. However, the decision has raised a few eyebrows back home, where many were hoping that this quintessential eccentric British company would plump for Made-in-Britain cars.
The move, though, could actually benefit the new vehicle as Singapore already has a zero tariff agreement with the EU, whilst the UK standing with the EU post-Brexit is still unknown. So, perversely, there may be lower tariffs on cars from Singapore into the EU than from the UK. By the way, James Dyson was very much a supporter of Brexit.
There is still no announcement on what sort of batteries the new car would use nor where they will be made. Previously, Dyson was known to be a fan of solid state batteries which, unlike Li-ion batteries, can be charged relatively quickly and have a greater storage capacity. These, though, are still in the development stage and Dyson has already had to write off a GBP46 million investment it made in an American solid state battery company called Sakti3, which it bought back in 2015.
There is still no picture of what the new car will look like but we want it to look like this: