Dyson has unveiled its abandoned electric car project, which racked up $500 million in cost before the vacuum manufacturer gave up on it.
Starting in 2016, Dyson had long been rumored to be working on its own electric vehicle. The rumors intensified when the company acquired 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.
The company later confirmed the plans in an email to employees.
Dyson confirmed that it was investing £2 billion ($2.7 billion USD) to bring electric vehicles to market and earlier this year, we learned that they were actually planning to produce 3 all-electric vehicles and possibly skipping solid-state batteries for the first generation.
They eventually moved away from solid-state batteries, but they moved forward with plans to produce electric vehicles.
Dyson started converting an airfield into an electric car R&D hub with a massive test track in the UK, but they eventually announced plans to bring electric vehicle production to Singapore.
They had over 600 employees working on electric vehicles and filed several patents for their technology.
Late last year, Dyson announced that it was giving up on the project – simply citing that the project was not “commercially viable”.
Now James Dyson, founder of Dyson, unveiled the working prototype of the vehicle, codenamed N526, which happens to be seven-seater electric SUV with a 600-mile range.
They shared some images of the only working prototype, which is the result of ~ $500 million of the $2 billion planned investment, with the Times:
Dyson admitted that the failed project was a big disappointment for him:
“There’s huge sadness and disappointment. Ours is a life of risk and of failure. We try things and they fail. Life isn’t easy.”
It’s the first time that we’ve seen the vehicle and it is surprisingly big.
The SUV is five meters long, two meters wide, and 1.7 meters tall (196.85″ x 78.74″ x 66.92″) and it weighs 2.6 tons (5,200 lbs).
Dyson claimed to have managed to achieve such a long range thanks to a large battery pack and efficiency gains through aerodynamic performance and an aluminum body.
In the interview with the Times, Dyson expanded on the reason why the canceled the project.
They previously only said that it had become commercially unviable, but now Dyson said that the vehicle would have cost £150,000 ($182,000 USD) to make.
For Dyson, the project is not a complete loss. Most of the engineers hired for the electric car project have moved to other projects in the company and he is happy with the influx of talent.
It’s sad that to see an electric car die.
From what I can see too, it had a beautiful design, but it sounds like a massive miscalculation on Dyson’s part.
They wanted to make the best electric vehicle they could, but they went overboard and the cost got out of control.
You can sell a $182,000 car, but the market is really small at that price. It seems like Dyson didn’t see it as viable.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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