James DysonEnlarge Photo
Dyson, the British appliance company best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, has cleared up speculation that has persisted for nearly 10 years.
Founder and chief engineer James Dyson officially confirmed his company is developing an electric car and is planning for a 2020 launch.
Not only has Dyson had 400 employees working on an electric car, but the project has drawn some high-profile names.
Executives from both Aston Martin and Tesla have left their positions to join Dyson.
Earlier this year, Dyson hired Ricardo Reyes, former Tesla communications executive, which fueled speculation the British company had ramped up its rumored plans for an electric car, according to an Autocar report.
Last month, Dyson brought on David Wyer as its head of procurement. He followed another former Aston Martin worker, product development director Ian Minards, who left the British luxury brand for the same position at the appliance maker.
James Dyson with digital motors [image: Dyson]Enlarge Photo
With talent from well-established automotive players, Dyson's founder said at least $2.7 billion has been committed to the electric-car program.
Half of that $2.7 billion is to be used to engineer the vehicle itself, while batteries will make up the other half of the budget.
Dyson had purchased American solid state battery startup Sakti3 for $90 million in 2015; it remains unclear whether or how much of its technology will be used in the Dyson electric car.
Aside from the formal announcement, Dyson himself revealed no specifics of the electric car, but it appears not to be one aimed at the mass market.
Instead, a broad description provided by the company says it will be positioned for a technology-oriented audience—likely more premium, especially with former luxury-brand executives on the team.
The company intends to keep its electric-car plans secret, due to the "fierce" nature of the industry.
Dyson’s concept drawing for a cyclonic filter system for exhaust emissionsEnlarge Photo
By 2020, Dyson will face far more competition among makers of higher-end electric cars: not just Tesla, but Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and likely more yet.
All of those makers have established brands, loyal customers, and expertise in manufacturing vehicles—skills the Dyson electric-car unit will have to acquire, and fast.
However, James Dyson has had cleaner vehicles on his mind for decades.
In the early 1990s, Dyson developed a cyclonic filtering system intended to trap exhaust particles, but the technology never caught on.
With its own electric car, Dyson plans to skip technology to curb emissions, and provide a vehicle that doesn't produce any emissions at all.