Having previously promised to create a “ground-breaking” fully electric vehicle, Dyson has decided to bin its automotive division.
The company, primarily known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, had committed £2.5 billion to the project, and from the sounds of it had made at least one working prototype. In a statement, Dyson said that its short-lived Automotive department had “developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies”.
It added: “Though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable.”
Dyson Automotive currently has 500 employees at a facility in Hullavington, Wiltshire. Dyson has said that it will try and find “alternative roles” for these staff members. As for anyone who either can’t be accommodated elsewhere or doesn’t want to be, Dyson will “support them fairly and with the respect deserved”. It concluded: “This is a challenging time for our colleagues and I appreciate your understanding and sensitivity as we consult with those who are affected”.
Eyebrows will certainly be raised by Dyson Automotive’s sudden demise, particularly given that it was only established a couple of years ago amid bold claims from James Dyson. However, this may be one of the smartest business moves the Dyson founder and chief engineer will ever make. You only have to look at Tesla as an example of how difficult it is to scale a start-up EV firm, even with well-received products.
Despite the death of Dyson Automotive, Dyson will continue to be involved in the development of solid-state batteries, potentially licensing out technology at a future date. So, although Dyson’s EV journey is effectively over before it properly began, the project may at least have some sort of legacy.