By on October 23, 2018

British vacuum magnate James Dyson has decided to construct his company’s planned electric vehicles in Singapore, rather than his home country. The choice prompted a mild uproar in the UK, as Dyson was a major proponent of Brexit.

However, he’s also still a businessman. China currently buys more EVs than any other nation on the planet, a fact that’s unlikely to change any time soon, and it’s typically more affordable to manufacture there than risking importation. This is especially true of automobiles. Officially, Dyson has said his business’ “center of gravity” has begun shifting toward Asia, accounting for nearly three quarters of the company’s revenue growth last year.

C’est la vie, as the British say. 

Honestly, it seems like a lot of companies have seen their center of gravity move Eastward of late. Tesla is taking the necessary steps to build its first Chinese factory in Shanghai and just about every other automaker hopes to convince the nation’s population to buy its cars by setting up shop within its borders. This is not an isolated phenomenon, nor exclusive to EVs.

While still a slap in the face for the United Kingdom, it’s not all bad. Dyson Ltd announced a $150-million investment into its Hullavington Technology Campus, which used to be an abandoned RAF airfield before the company purchased it in 2017, in August. That facility will house some of the firm’s 400 British-based engineers, a testing facility, and track while it continues development.

Meanwhile, Singapore, which has a free trade agreement with China, will handle manufacturing, allowing Dyson to remain close to its battery supply chain. Bloomberg reports that the company plans to finish construction on its first EV factory in 2020, with the planned launch of its first model taking place a year later.

“The decision of where to make our car is complex, based on supply chains, access to markets, and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions,” Dyson CEO Jim Rowan said.

Dyson’s electric car development remains shrouded in secrecy, with the company promising something radically different when launch time arrives. While some suggest the company has managed to tap into solid-state battery technology, those claims seem incredibly optimistic.

[Image: Eva Rinaldi/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)]

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26 Comments on “Sorry, Britain: Vacuum Tycoon Decides to Build Dyson EVs in Singapore...”

  • avatar

    I’ll bet Dyson EVs will really suck…

    I’ll be here all week, don’t forget to tip your waitress

  • avatar

    It’s not as if Dyson makes any of its overhyped vacuums, fans etc in the UK. They’re already made in Asia, along with its crap “digital” motor.

    Dyson is not one to avoid overstretching a point in a plummy out-of-date accent, and typifies the kind of man/company that offshores jobs and to hell with the folks back home. A lot of Americans have done the same thing.

    So why don’t we hear more bashing of these predators? Supported Brexit, though who can work out the logic of grasping people like him?

    So then they pay politicians to proclaim the overseas countries “flooding our markets with cheap low-cost goods” as Bad Actors responsible for Trade Deficits. Squawk, bleat. Have to sanction them and apply whinging tariffs. No mention of the corporations who actually pulled off the scam.

    And the majority of the dull populace who never pay attention, all stand up and cheer! “it’s them goddam foreigners, Jake!”

    You have been conned coming and going, to better fill the pockets of the already superwealthy. When they bring their factories home to triumphant fanfare, they know they can hire people for low wages and no benefits, much lower than would have been the case if they’d stayed in the first place.

  • avatar

    A vacuum cleaner manufacturer wanting to build BEVs, now there’s a brand extension that is bound to fail massively. Not to mention the likelihood that the new Dyson BEVs will have a charging time of more than 5 minutes, in which case the products will be dead on arrival in the marketplace, just like all BEVs in existence so far. Dyson should stick to vacuum cleaners…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “C’est la vie, as the British say.”

    I thought that’s what the French said.

    As for the solid state battery, everyone from Fisker to Toyota claims to have one ‘ready soon’. Solid state or not, I’ll be stunned if Dyson ever sells a single car.

  • avatar

    What’s so revolutionary about a solid-state battery? The Bollore Bluecar has had one for years. You know, that tall-hatchback EV coupe used in car-share services in places like Paris and Indianapolis.

    (That may be the first and last time I have occasion to use the phrase “places like Paris and Indianapolis.”)

  • avatar

    With the exception of films the British don’t make much of anything anymore. This once great empire has faded into history. What is sad is that they don’t care anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, they still make a good airplane jet engines, and one or two odd warships. But yes, they lost it, and now just produce BBC documentaries about GLORY of pass years (British Empire). Ooo, and they still have royal family that does a great entertainment to the masses..

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      I recommend watching the classic Top Gear episode on what is still engineered and manufactured in the UK.

      The facts may change your opinion.

      • 0 avatar

        read up on the history of the Rolls-Royce/Packard Merlin V-12. Packard took out a license to build them for US WWII aircraft (since GM was late with the Allison V-1710) and had to spend the better part of the year re-designing it. The engines had 14,000 parts and Rolls was building them by basically having craftsmen hand fit everything together, and Packard couldn’t mass produce something with such sloppy tolerances.

    • 0 avatar

      GE is now the world’s premiere builder of military and commercial jet engines.

    • 0 avatar

      Let’s be honest @akear, a large part of what the British Empire made was subjugation of people of colour. It’s a good thing it’s in the past. Lots of love from a British person with just a hint of social conscience.

  • avatar
    A Scientist

    If their EVs are anything like their vacuums, then I’m guessing they’ll perform worse than the competition and yet cost 4 times as much.

  • avatar

    I know that Singapore has a free trade agreement with China but it’s very surprising that it’s a cost effective place to build cars. Singapore is one of the most expensive city states in the world and has very little land. If the free trade agreement ever ends, they will be left exposed. However, I’m sure that Dyson have done their due diligence and know a lot more about it than me!

  • avatar

    My guess is that Singapore’s high wealth and density make for an ideal electric car “showcase” city. Kind of similar to why Hong Kong has so many Teslas now. Singapore has a high tax on cars so maybe there is a break on these, being the only locally produced car, and emission free. This allows them to capture lots of market share in a high visibility market with good potential charging infrastructure, while exporting tariff free to China and other countries (being that Singapore has FTA’s with lots of countries).

    Singapore might be a wealthy city, and although I haven’t been there (I’m very familiar with Hong Kong) I imagine similar to HK there is a large amount of migrant labor with visas who are legally employed there inexpensively. Malaysians, Indonesians, Phillipinos, Bangledeshis, etc. Probably enough of an ability to attract low cost labor, especially if housing,etc. is provided, to mitigate overall other high costs.

  • avatar

    When europeans ridicule the notion of “MAGA” and then get backstabbed, well more in their face so facestabbed, by their fellow countrymen and companies.

  • avatar

    Products with the Dyson Name seem to always be more about Hype than performance, how this clown is a millionaire says a lot about the world we live in.

  • avatar

    The merlin was used in the Mustang due to the Allison’s lack of performance above 15,000ft. The Allison was highly competitive until they took the supercharger out of the engine. Allison powered aircraft did well in Africa and the Pacific were high altitude combat was rare. On the deck the P-63 and P-38 could do 400mph, which illustrates the Allison excellent low altitude performance.

    Overall the Merlin was the best inline fighter engine of the war. It allowed the mustang to operate effectively above 30,000ft, which was perfect for a fighter used to escort bombers over Germany.

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