Sept. 26 (UPI) — Dyson, the company known for making vacuum cleaners and other appliances, plans to sell a much bigger type of electric product by 2020: a car.
Founder James Dyson wrote an email Tuesday to staff that the British-based company has been develping a “radically different” battery-powered electric vehicle with a team of 400 people.
The 70-year-old Dyson, who is worth $4.5 billion, according to Forbes, said his company is investing $1.34 billion in the project. He revealed no car details or how much it will cost but predicted electric vehicles would become the company’s largest source of revenue.
“There’s no point doing something that looks like everyone else’s,” he said in a Bloomberg report. “It is not a sports car and not a very cheap car.”
The company plans to build most of the car in-house. The battery and car manufacturing facilities will likely be in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines, where the company makes vacuum cleaners, hand dryers, bladeless fans, heaters and hair dryers.
Design work for Dyson’s car will be at Hullavington Airfield, a former training site for Britain’s Royal Air Force in Wiltshire, England.
“Major auto manufacturers have circumvented and duped clean air regulations,” he wrote. “As a result, developed and developing cities are full of smog-belching cars, lorries and buses. It is a problem that others are ignoring.”
In October 2015, he paid $90 million for Michigan-based startup Sakti3, which has touted major breakthroughs in designing solid-state batteries.
The British government has given Dyson a $21.5 million grant for battery research.
Dyson said its car will use solid-state batteries instead of lithium-ion battieries, which are used by Tesla and other electric car makers. He said his batteries are smaller and easier to charge.
In March 1990, he said a team at Dyson “began work on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates.”
By 1993, the company had developed several working prototypes
“Nobody at the time was interested in employing our diesel exhaust capture system and we stopped the project. The industry said that ‘disposing’ of the collected soot was too much of a problem! Better to breathe it in?” he wrote in the email to staff.
Dyson, which was founded in 1991 with bagless vacuum cleaners, introduced battery-powered ones two years ago. Dyson had sales of $3.12 billion last year.