Dyson, the British maker of premium vacuum cleaners, aims to enter the electric-car arena—and it’s chosen Singapore as the global assembly site.

The company confirmed that its board has ratified the decision for the company itself to construct what it calls a “purpose-built advanced automotive manufacturing facility” there, due for completion in 2020.

It says that it chose Singapore for its proximity to high-growth electric-vehicle markets, because of the supply chain, and for its availability of highly-skilled engineers and scientists. Dyson already has a motor-manufacturing center in Singapore where it employs 1,100.

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Dyson plans to spend $2.6 billion on its electric-vehicle project—a total amount that will likely get split down the middle between battery technology and vehicle development. That could include three distinct models.

James Dyson with digital motors [image: Dyson]

James Dyson with digital motors [image: Dyson]

Company founder Sir James Dyson told the Financial Times earlier this year that the company only plans to make “low, single-digit thousands” of its first vehicle. With it, the company plans to establish a “route to market, a supply chain, and a potential customer base.”

The company couldn’t yet confirm to Green Car Reports whether initial rollout plans include the U.S., or whether the vehicle is designed with the U.S. in mind. It hopes to deliver its first vehicle in 2021—an optimistic trajectory for a company with no previous experience building cars.

CHECK OUT: Dyson plans to build electric-car test track in Britain


Although that strategy might sound similar to that of Tesla, Dyson has pointed out that, unlike Tesla’s first model a decade ago, the Roadster, the company’s first electric car won’t be based on any existing vehicle from another company (Lotus, in Tesla’s case). “We’re trying to be radical,” Dyson told Auto Express last year, noting however that it won’t be a sports car or very cheap small car.

Dyson Automotive Manufacturing facility - Singapore - rendering

Dyson Automotive Manufacturing facility - Singapore - rendering

From there, the company intends to move ahead with two higher-production-volume models that would take advantage of solid-state battery technology—although the first of Dyson’s products might launch with conventional liquid/gel lithium-ion cells. Expect some use of carbon-fiber-reinforced body panels as well.

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Development is happening in the U.K. Dyson is working on repurposing a former World War II airfield in Wiltshire, England, as a vehicle test track, and it’s planning a technology campus for a related staff of 2,000 employees. Currently it has about 400 working on the automotive project, with a current total of 4,800 U.K. employees.  

Dyson noted about a year ago, when the project was first coming together, that he first became concerned about emissions and public health in the late 1980s, when a U.S. paper had linked diesel-engine exhaust to premature death in lab rats and mice. That motivated him to devise a cyclonic particulate filter for diesel trucks.