Dyson’s huge £2.5 billion bet on the electric cars market appears to be taking shape after preliminary details emerged on one of the first vehicles of the line it has targeted a 2021 launch for. Design sketches emerged yesterday as 3 patent applications the company, best known for its state-of-the-art vacuum cleaners, went public. While the sketches don’t necessarily reveal a lot about how the final vehicle, which will be a 4×4 taking up roughly similar road space to a Range Rover, the do provide some clues.
The patents the company has filed cover the vehicle’s wheelbase, which will be particularly long, a ‘crossover’ body, uniquely large and slim wheels, a windscreen designed for aerodynamics and short body overhangs.
Images are part of patent filings submitted by Dyson
Dyson, still a private company owned by founder and CEO James Dyson, is one of the UK’s most successful companies. It turned over £3.5 billion in 2017 and had a net income of £900 million in 2016. The company is perhaps best known for the dust bag-free, high end vacuum cleaners it pioneered in the early 90s and has since diversified into hand dryers, bladeless fans and air purifiers.
However, Dyson is now taking the biggest risk of the company’s history by putting what must be presumed as the bulk of its cash reserves on the line in an attempt to break into the electric car space.
Dyson is confident that its experience in developing batteries, aerodynamics and electric motors for household objects such as air filters and cordless vacuums will prove transferable and give it an edge in an entirely new industry. It will have to given the growing level of competition in the space and that Dyson is challenging companies with years of experience in automobile supply, manufacturing and sales lines.
As part of the company’s pivot, the decision was taken early this year for it to move its HQ out of the UK to Singapore, where the factory that vehicles will be manufactured and assembled in is being built. Even the £2.5 billion budget Dyson has set aside for the new venture is a very limited war chest given the scale of the company’s task but Mr Dyson has stated that he is confident they are currently within budget and deadline targets. The company is leveraging what it can of its existing household appliances infrastructure and supply lines set-up and experience.
Dyson believes that the small dimensions of most electric car designs might be efficient in terms of their range but the resulting lack of comfort puts many potential buyers off. The Dyson 4×4 will attempt to navigate its larger and more comfortable size of passenger space compromising range through a combination of innovative design features. These look like including a steeply sloping windscreen and low roof for better aerodynamics, offset by a compact twin motors meaning most of the vehicle’s length will be given over to passenger space. The wheels being closer to the extremes of the car is designed to improve the car’s ride and manoeuvrability.
Dyson has said that the first vehicle will initially be sold in a tightly limited number of countries which are expected to include the UK, preferably China and some European markets.