Dyson, a British technology company best known for designing and manufacturing vacuum cleaners, is reportedly building an electric car following investments in solid state batteries. Last year, we reported on the company acquiring Michigan-based solid-state battery startup Sakti3 for $90 million and announced plans to build an important $1 billion battery factory to mass produce the next generation battery technology.
At the time, Dyson was talking about integrating the technology into its cordless vacuum cleaners, but it also confirmed the potential of licensing the technology or supplying the cells for other applications like electric cars.
Now it looks like the company is looking into developing an electric vehicle itself.
According to government documents (via the Guardian), Dyson is seeking help from public money to develop the electric car at its headquarters in Wiltshire. The National Infrastructure Delivery Plan said:
“The government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering,”
Dyson refused to comment or acknowledge the project.
There’s no direct link between the alleged electric vehicle under development and Dyson’s solid-state battery investment, but the timing certainly brings the possibility of an electric car powered by solid-state batteries.
Solid-state batteries are thought to be a lot safer than common li-ion cells and could have more potential for higher energy density, but we have yet to see a company capable of producing it in large-scale and at an attractive price point – enter Dyson with its $1 billion investment and the acquisition of Sakti3.
Sakti3 made the headlines in 2014 when it announced that it had produced a solid-state battery cell with 400 Wh/kg energy density, compared to Tesla’s Panasonic cells believed to be the industry leader with around 240 Wh/kg. Sakti3 now operates within Dyson and CEO Ann Marie Sastry stayed on board as a Dyson executive and lead development of her battery technology at the company.