Dyson axes development of electric car

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Oct 11 2019 07:53 AM

LONDON — British electric appliance pioneer James Dyson, famed for his high-tech vacuum cleaners, announced Thursday that he has abandoned a bid to mass-produce electric cars.

Dyson said in a statement posted on the Singapore-based company's website that his team had developed a "fantastic car" based on an "ingenious" approach.

"However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply cannot make it commercially viable," he added.

"We have been through a serious process to find a buyer for the project which has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so far."

The company announced in 2018 that Singapore, where it relocated to this year, would also be the site for its first electric car plant, with the first vehicles expected in 2021.

The moves had sparked criticism in Britain that Dyson, a staunch backer of Brexit, should be investing more in British manufacturing.

In May, he had unveiled brief details of patents filed 18 months earlier for the electric car, claiming it would be more energy efficient than rivals -- and with "very large wheels" for city and rough-terrain driving.

Dyson on Thursday insisted shutting the automotive unit was "not a product failure" and that "as many of the team as possible" would be reassigned to other roles in the company.

"We have sufficient vacancies to absorb most of the people into our home business," he added.

The statement also noted that the company would continue a £2.5 billion ($3.1 billion, 2.8 billion euros) investment program in "new technology", including the manufacture of new batteries, sensing technologies, vision systems, robotics, machine learning, and AI.

"I remain as excited about the future of Dyson as I have always been," the company founder insisted.

 
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