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Known for its range of appliances, British company Dyson has scrapped its electric vehicle project, BBC reported. According to the news broadcaster, founder James Dyson said in an e-mail to all employees saying the company had not been successful in finding a buyer for the EV project. Currently, Dyson’s automotive division has 500 staff employed in the UK.
“The Dyson Automotive team has developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies. However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable,” Dyson was quoted by Automotive News Europe as saying.
“This is not a product failure, or a failure of the team, for whom this news will be hard to hear and digest,” the founder wrote in the e-mail to employees, adding that the company is looking to place its staff in alternative roles within its home division, which produces its line-up of vacuum cleaners, fans and hairdryers. Dyson said in the e-mail that its EV facilities in both the UK and Singapore will be closed.
News of Dyson’s EV venture first surfaced in March 2016, and had acquired solid-state battery company Sakti3 in October 2015, a company claimed to have developed batteries with double the life of the best lithium-ion versions available.
The British firm announced plans in 2017 for its electric car to be launched in 2020, and Dyson saying that two billion British pounds were being spent on researching solid-state battery technology and electric motors, with a 400-person team of engineers developing the car at the time. This would have been the first of three EV models in the pipeline.
Dyson had planned to use solid-state batteries instead of lithium-ion as the former was found to be safer, less likely to overheat and can be charged more quickly, the founder said at the time. The decision to use solid-state batteries for the debut model was then reversed, instead saving its use for the second and third models. Then-executive for solid-state batteries Ann Marie Sastry, who owned Sakti3 before the Dyson purchase, left the company late 2017.
Patents sighted by Bloomberg in May this year revealed that the first Dyson EV was to be a large crossover, with a footprint similar to that of a Range Rover. The patent filing described a vehicle with approach, breakover and departure angles commendable by Land Rover standards as reported by Autocar at the time, though off-roader intentions were not indicated. “It’s just that we can have these things for free,” founder James Dyson told Autocar.
At the time of the patent sighting, Dyson said to Autocar that the company was researching two different types of solid-state battery, with research taking place in four linked global locations including the United Kingdom, however its early production cars would have used lithium-ion batteries.
The EV would like have used two motors, as Dyson said that using more than one motor made sense for better potential in energy recuperation, and the company was likely to produce its own EV motors. An initial batch was to be produced at its automotive HQ in Wiltshire, UK, with plans to eventually manufacture in Singapore.