Dyson Revving Up Plans for an Electric Car
Dyson, that company famous for making rad-looking vacuum cleaners, seems to be getting serious about its plans to launch its very own electric car. It has unveiled the planned 16-kilometre test track, where the new car will be put through its paces.
The new track in Wiltshire, England is all part of the grand plan to start selling electric-only cars by 2021. The track will be on the previously disused 517-acre Hullavington airfield, which the company bought two years ago, and where two hangars have already been renovated. The airfield dates from 1937 and played a significant role in WWII, primarily as a flight school.
The old hanger at the new site. Image source: Wikipedia
It is close to Dyson’s HQ in Malmesbury, where the company has set up a training institute for engineers.
It is reported that the redevelopment cost of GBP84 million will bring the total investment in the airfield to GBP200 million, where Dyson already has 400 automotive staff based. Further development work is planned and three more buildings will be renovated, adding a further 15,000 sqm of space to test in and presumably clean-up as well.
Dyson’s CEO, Jim Rowan, is bullish about the future of Hullavington, stating that the facility would become known as a world-class vehicle testing facility as well-known for its research and development as it will be for the cars that Dyson produces.
As of yet, no detail of the car has been released nor has any prototype been produced/shown. However, we presume that the final product will be targeted at the upper end of the market, a bit like its vacuum cleaners, and also will include a swag of driverless technology. It is safe to assume that the vehicle probably will not even look like a conventional vehicle, after Sir James Dyson told GQ magazine: “What we are doing is quite radical.” And let’s face it, Dyson products to date have always challenged conventional designs.
Dyson, who made its 100 millionth machine last month, has caught some flack from the British press for moving its manufacturing from the UK to Malaysia. And of its 12,000 employees, only 4,800 are based in the UK. To date, there is still no word on where the vehicle will be manufactured but with the Malaysian Prime Minister announcing a third national car project to develop electric vehicles, perhaps Sir James and Dr Mahathir should be talking to each other. Just perhaps.