British inventor and entrepreneur James Dyson made headlines with plans to develop an electric car, only to scrap the project in October 2019. In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Dyson disclosed more details of the project, which apparently progressed to the point of building a working prototype.
Codenamed N526, the prototype was a 7-seat SUV. Dyson said a production version would have had a 600-mile range, with 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds and a 125-mph top speed. The SUV featured dual-motor all-wheel drive, with 536 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, according to the article.
Dyson abruptly canceled the project last year, revealing to the Times that he spent £500 million ($605 million) on the project before pulling the plug. In the interview, he said the SUV needed to be profitable to succeed, and that there was no way to do that, even with an anticipated base price of over $150,000. Dyson believes established automakers building electric cars are doing so at a loss to meet emissions standards.
Sir James Dyson, Britain’s richest man, spent £500m developing an electric car to rival Tesla’s. Then he scrapped it before the first prototype took to the road. He tells John Arlidge why https://t.co/mIVmVFnN6D— The Sunday Times Magazine (@TheSTMagazine) May 17, 2020
Patent images showed the Dyson SUV as a possible Tesla Model X competitor, and a picture released with the Times interview, along with the claim of 7-passenger capacity, makes that comparison even more apt.
Patent drawing for Dyson electric car due in 2021
Best known for its vacuum cleaners, Dyson planned to build the vehicles in Singapore, and at one point reportedly had multiple electric cars on the drawing board. At least two followup models were reportedly planned, selling in higher volumes than the first model.
The company may no longer plan to build entire vehicles, but it may license solid-state batteries and other technologies tied to the electric-car project to other automakers. When the project was canceled, James Dyson said the company would nonetheless expand three facilities linked to automotive operations.