Dyson Hoovers Up Talent for Electric Car

dyson hoovers up talent for electric car

Noted dust magnate Sir James Dyson is moving ahead at cyclonic speed with his electric car endeavors, hiring 300 new employees to work on an EV due for launch in 2020.

Apparently seeing a vacuum in the car market, Dyson intends to use its expertise and recent acquisition of a battery company to clean up the world’s air pollution. Plans are moving at such a swift rate that the EV team is moving into a new state-of-the-art 750 acre campus, Dyson’s second R&D campus in Britain.

Dyson already makes a V8; sadly, it is simply the name of their cordless stick vacuum cleaner. However, if one puts all the pieces together, a low-volume EV from Dyson is not too far-fetched.

After spending $90 million in 2015 to acquire battery company Sakti3, Dyson does now appear to possess the technology to realistically push forward with the development of an EV. Sakti3, a startup company with connections to the University of Michigan, claims to have developed solid-state lithium-ion batteries which nearly double the punch provided by those found in California’s favorite EV – Tesla.

Claims aside, if Dyson can indeed figure out the solid-state puzzle it will be a huge revolution in battery technology. Right now, lithium-ion batteries generally operate at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, necessitating complex cooling solutions. Instead of a pressurized liquid electrolyte, solid-state batteries can incorporate a thin layer of non-flammable material to act as both the separator (keeping + and – electrodes from playing together) and electrolyte.

Back in September, the company starting making noise about its forthcoming EV, releasing a wealth of information about the product on Twitter. In the statement, Sir James references his ambition to find a solution to the global problem of air pollution, a goal that certainly aligns with the production of an EV.

James Dyson just announced to @Dyson employees that we’ve begun work on a battery electric vehicle, due to launch in 2020. pic.twitter.com/yUZNvIsYIi

— Dyson (@Dyson) September 26, 2017

At that time, Dyson stated they had “over 400” people working on the EV project, meaning the new hires bring the total number of workers toiling away at a Dyson electric car to be in the neighborhood of 700 people. This, then, sure doesn’t seem like a flash in the pan or some sort of PR stunt. It’s worth noting that James Dyson himself is reportedly investing at least £2 billion of his own money to bring this car to market.

A company seeming to suddenly appear with a ready-for-market electric vehicle is not entirely without precedent. In 2017, a company called Bollinger showed up with its B1, all-electric off-roader complete with impressive off-road creds and t-square styling cues. Dyson (both the company and the inventor) has a long history of innovation and is certainly not risk-adverse, so the thought of a low-volume EV from the company does hold water.

Dyson is based in the U.K. and is a privately-held company. Its revenue has grown to £3.5 billion in 2017 from £1.7 in 2015. Almost three-quarters of that revenue growth has come from Asia. Last year’s earnings topped $1 billion USD.

[Image: Dyson]

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  • La834 La834 on Mar 01, 2018

    I actually have one of those Dyson V8 cordless vacs; it's far and away the best vacuum cleaner I've ever used. Lightweight and cordless, yet picks up as well as heavy plug-in units. Very quiet. A cinch to clean out - hold it over a trash can and press a button, it empties the collected dirt and cleans the filter in one action. Comfortable-to-hold handle. Easy to use attachments. A roller brush that's right at the front of the floor part and reaches all the way to the left & right edges, so you can get right up against walls or corners. The battery lasts long enough to clean the whole house. Can be used as just a dustbuster, or you can attach a tube and it will clean high shelves or curtains. It hangs on the wall when you're done with it. It's an exquisite piece of industrial engineering, designed by people who sweated the details and got everything right. If their EVs are anything like their vacuum cleaners, look out, automotive world.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Mar 02, 2018

      The cinch to clean out part is where the design shines. Anywhere that a normal vacuum clogs can be popped right off and easily cleared. Mine is 12 years old so while more costly initially, It has paid for itself as we typically got 2 or 3 years out of them prior to that.

  • Rick T. Rick T. on Mar 01, 2018

    If you listen to podcasts, the recent 'How I Built This' with Dyson was worth your time if you don't know much about him beyond the commercials.

  • SCE to AUX "a future in which V8-powered muscle cars duke it out with EVs for track superiority"That's been happening for years on drag strips, and now EVs are listed in the top Nurburgring lap times.I find EV racing very boring to watch, and the lack of sound kills the experience. I can't imagine ever watching a 500-mile EV race such as Daytona or Indy, even if the tech or the rules allow such a race to happen.As for owning an electric muscle car, they already exist... but I've never owned a muscle car, don't want one, and can't afford one anyway. For me, it's a moot question.
  • MaintenanceCosts I don't and realistically won't drive on track, but I think the performance characteristics of EV powertrains are just plain superior on the street. You get quicker response, finer control over the throttle, no possibility of being out of the powerband and needing a time-consuming shift, more capability in the speed range where you actually drive, and less brake heat. The only "problem" (and there are many situations where it's a plus, not a problem) is the lack of noise.
  • JMII After tracking two cars (a 350Z and a C7) I can't imagine tracking an EV because so much of your "feeling" of driving comes from sound. That said you might be able to detect grip levels better as tire sounds could be heard easier without the roar of the engine and exhaust. However I change gears based mostly on sound so even an automatic (like a C8) that would be a disappointment on track. Hearing an engine roar is too important to the overall experience: so tracking an EV? No thanks!I've driven an electric go-kart around a track as my only point of reference and its weird. It sort of works because a kart is so small and doesn't require shifting plus you still hear the "engine" whirring behind you. The sensation is like driving cordless drill, so there is some sense of torque being applied. You adapt pretty quickly but it just seems so wrong. With a standard ICE car, even a fast one, RPMs raise and fall with each shift so there is time to process the wonderful sounds and they give you a great sense of the mechanical engine bits working to propel you.I feel track toys will always be ICE powered, similar to how people still enjoy sailing or horseback riding as "sports" despite both forms of transportation being replaced by superior technology. I assume niche companies will continue to build and maintain ICE vehicles. In the future you'll have to take your grand-kids to the local track to explain that cars were once glorious, smoke spewing, noisy things. The smells and the sounds are unique to racing so they need to stay that way. Often a car goes by while your in the pits and you can identify it by sound alone... I would hate to lose that.
  • Kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh "20 combined city/highway"...sigh
  • MaintenanceCosts Not sure this is true for electrified products. The Pacifica Hybrid continues to have its share of issues and there have been some issues with the 4xe products as well.