Best known for slick-looking vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, James Dyson has already stated his intentions to tackle a completely different machine — the electric car. Now, however, the inventor is looking to build more than just a niche model as the list of EV models on sale grows.
Dyson is planning a trio of new EVs for the next decade that will also adopt a solid-state battery pack, the Financial Times reported Wednesday, embarking on an estimated $2.8 billion project to give an Elon Musk-like jolt to the automotive market. The man behind radically designed appliances said in September he was planning a “radically different” type of electric car than what was on the market. Like Musk, the first car due early next decade would be a high-end model (but not a sports car) and be sold in relatively small numbers.
But what FT’s sources said was that Dyson’s endeavor would be followed by two more models that would be more mass market than his first. He is said to be investing in both lightweight materials (likely carbon fiber, which is used extensively on the BMW i3 electric vehicles), but also solid-state battery technology for cars.
Dyson isn’t the only one who wants that technology. The Fisker EMotion concept shown last month at CES is said to support the technology. But designer and company CEO, Henrik Fisker, is prepared to use lithium-ion batteries when the first cars are built late next year. Dyson is said to be prepared to do the same in order to get his first car to launch in 2020 or 2021. And Autocar reported that the company’s solid-state battery head left the company late last year.
Recent years have brought numerous EV startups trying to capture the limelight the way Tesla has. The dire fate of Faraday Future hasn’t scared off the likes of Byton and Fisker, however. Nor has it Dyson. And analysts think Dyson may have a better chance because he’s been able to understand manufacturing over the years. But with long-range EVs rolling out by major automakers, from Audi to Porsche to Volvo, as soon as this year, the landscape could be very different if and when Dyson reveals his first car.