Dyson is best known for its vacuum cleaners, so its announcement that it has been working on a secret project to make electric cars came as a surprise.
Founder James Dyson has pledged to spend £1bn on developing the car and a further £1bn on making the battery. The engineering firm has been working on the project for two years.
But few details are yet known about the actual car, including annual production total, cost and the range or top speed of the vehicle.
Dyson announced the news in an open email to the company’s global employees.
Can’t wait until 2020? Take a look at the best new electric cars on the market.
Will Dyson’s electric car be ‘radical and different’?
Dyson claims his desire to create a more environmentally friendly car began in the early 1990s, when he developed a prototype of a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates.
Meanwhile, Leaf, Nissan and Tesla all launched electric vehicles.
However, now Dyson says his wish to develop a car that ‘will provide a solution to to the world’s largest single environmental risk’ could soon be a reality.
In the email sent to the company’s 8,500 employees, Dyson said:
‘It has remained my ambition to find a solution to the global problem of air pollution… At this moment, we finally have the opportunity to bring all our technologies together into a single product…The project will grow quickly from here, but at this stage we will not release any information. Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential.’
Dyson said that the car would not be aimed at the mass market and, in keeping with the company’s general ethos, would be ‘radical and different’.
BMW, Nissan and Telsa electric cars
Dyson will enter a market that has started to grow rapidly. Electric cars are rising in popularity each year for reasons including tax incentives, better fuel economy, growing environmental concerns, increasing availability and recent news that the government is banning the sale of traditional fuel cars by 2040.
Many car manufacturers have pledged to create electric or hybrid cars in the next few years, including Jaguar Land Rover, Mercedes, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Top tips for choosing an electric car
If you’re looking to purchase an electric car there are several key factors to consider. These include:
- Do you want an all-electric car, or would a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) be more suitable?
If you do a lot of long-distance driving, or won’t be able to charge up your electric car regularly, you may need the flexibility of being able to switch to fuel.
- How are your home electrics?
It’s possible to charge an electric car through your own domestic sockets, but your circuits and wiring should be checked by a qualified electrician. This is to ensure that they have the necessary circuit breakers and isolation switches, and are resistant to overheating.
- Do you need boot space?
Electric cars can be on the small side when it comes to boot space – often because the batteries that keep the car going are found in the boot – so this is worth checking before you buy.
- Where are your nearest charging points?
You can find out where the nearest charging point is by checking Zap-map.com, but what about if you have a long commute to work? Nobody wants to get stuck in the office at the end of the day.
Want to find out what cars have been picked as Best Buys in our latest round of testing? Read our Best Buy new and used car reviews.