British Vacuum Cleaner Maker Dyson Is Developing An Electric Car

In a memo to employees, CEO James Dyson revealed the company's plans to have an EV on the road by 2020.
Danielle  De La Bastide

The British appliance manufacturer Dyson, more known for its futuristic vacuum cleaners and supersonic hairdryers, is now jumping on the EV trend.

In 2015, the company acquired Sakti3, a Michigan-based solid-state battery startup with plans to construct a $1 billion battery factory in order to mass produce the future of battery technology.

In a memo to employees, CEO James Dyson announced that the company would be focusing its efforts towards developing a Dyson electric car, due to be launched in 2020.

British Vacuum Cleaner Maker Dyson Is Developing An Electric Car
Source: Michiel Hendryckx/Wikimedia Commons

Dyson explained that his reason for the new ambition was his concern for exhaust emissions, he even developed a filter for diesel-powered vehicles to use over 20 years ago but was swiftly rejected by the auto industry.

“It has remained my ambition to find solutions to the global problem of air pollution.

Some years ago, observing that automotive firms were not changing their spots, I committed the company to develop new battery technologies. I believed that electrically powered vehicles would solve the vehicle pollution problem.

The latest digital motors and energy storage systems power the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer and cord-free vacuum line. We’ve relentlessly innovated in fluid dynamics and HVAC systems to build our fans, heaters, and purifiers,” he wrote in the memo.

British Vacuum Cleaner Maker Dyson Is Developing An Electric Car
Source: Dyson

To supplement this new project, Dyson has a growing team of 400 people on the case; the company also plans to back this endeavor with a $2.7 billion investment.

“At this moment, we finally have the opportunity to bring all our technologies together into a single product. Rather than filtering emission at the exhaust pipe, today we have the ability to solve it at the source,” continued Dyson.

Right now the EV market is arguably saturated with new and upcoming concepts from car manufacturers worldwide; it’s a different market as compared to 2 decades ago when James Dyson was offering up his cleaner energy solutions to car companies.

It’s still not clear if they plan to use their solid-state battery technology in their EV. Notably, they’d be the first to attempt this. However, they’d have competition in the form of Toyota who is currently developing solid-state battery systems and plans to install them in their electric cars by 2020. The game is on.


What is a solid-state battery?

Solid state batteries replace the liquid or polymer electrolyte found in lithium-ion batteries with a solid version. There are many benefits to SSB’s – they are smaller, higher-capacity and cheaper than the more oft-used liquid-based lithium-ion batteries.

They are also non-flammable which is always a good thing. The problem with these batteries is finding a solid material conductive enough to be used in large cells, such as one for a car.

This is where Sakti3 comes in, in 2014 they announced they were close to achieving a battery with double the energy density of a lithium-ion battery at one-fifth the cost.