New Electric Car from Vacuum Cleaner Maker

While traditional car manufacturers have their eyes on new rivals on the block – the likes of Google, Apple and Tesla, with their newfangled cars – and these new car makers have been trying to usurp the old guys, neither saw this coming. There’s an even newer kid in town – and he makes vacuums.

Dyson, the producer of premium, tech-infused home appliances as well as hand-dryers for public toilets, is being funded by the British government to produce an electric car. This bit of news follows Dyson’s recent purchase of Sakti3, a battery technology company born from University of Michigan, which cost the company some US$90 million.

Sakti3 produces solid state lithium-ion batteries, which are potentially safer and smaller. Using solid lithium electrodes, rather than flammable liquid, it is more energy dense and can pack twice as much power. More importantly, from a business perspective, this sort of battery is cheaper to make, and Dyson already uses this technology in some of its contraptions, like its cordless vacuum cleaners which make up half of its £1.7 billion sales worldwide.

At the time that the acquisition was announced, Sir James Dyson (above), the founder of Dyson Ltd, suggested that the acquired technology could be used for domestic appliances, and failed to mention that the company was exploring power storage for vehicles. This bit of information was, in fact, accidentally leaked, according to The Guardian. Since the purchase of Sakti3, the company has announced plans to invest US$1.4 billion into battery technology over the next five years and coincidentally, Dyson products do indeed use the same motors as electric cars.

In recent years, non-traditional players in the automotive world usually refer to companies from Silicon Valley – the Apple’s and the Google’s and the Tesla’s – and certainly not one which main product offering is home appliances. Could those which hold real potential in conquering the auto business be the ones that have the most advanced battery technology? More likely, we think, is that these companies will partner up with automakers, and each will contribute their part to the puzzle – like Panasonic and Tesla did. So, we won’t be surprised if we hear of a tie-up between Dyson and another British auto company, like Aston Martin, who has already announced that an all-electric Rapide is coming next year.

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