Dyson scraps £2.5bn electric auto project

James Dyson founder of Dyson company

James Dyson founder of Dyson company

Britain's James Dyson has cancelled his ambitious project to build an electric vehicle, the centrepiece of a 2.5-billion-pound ($4.1-billion) investment in technology, saying he could not see a way to make it commercially viable.

"We have been through a serious process to find a buyer for the project which has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so far".

I wanted you to hear directly from me that the Dyson Board has therefore taken the very hard decision to propose the closure of our automotive project. Those who don't take on alternate roles will be supported "fairly and with the respect deserved", Dyson said.

"Though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable".

'This is a challenging time for our colleagues and I appreciate your understanding and sensitivity as we consult with those who are affected.

The company bet that its battery know-how would give it an edge in electric vehicles, but the closure of the project indicates it underestimated the complexity and cost of starting a auto company from scratch.

The rest of the funds intended for the electric vehicle project would still be spent on developing other products, including its battery technology, Dyson said.

The $2.5 billion investment for the electric auto will now be funneled back into its core technology, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, the representative added, before saying, "There's still a lot more to come". Dyson CEO Jim Rowan said the company would also still invest a total of £2.5bn in next generation technologies.

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"Such an approach drives progress, but has never been an easy journey and the route to success is never linear", he said. It will also focus on manufacturing solid-state batteries and other technologies, such as sensing and vision systems and robotics, machine learning, and AI.

Dyson has vast expertise with electric motors and batteries, but apparently couldn't turn that into a workable business model for a Range Rover-size utility vehicle it had been planning to produce in Singapore and sell throughout Asia (and then beyond).

Up to 600 people were involved in the electric auto project, which was first announced in 2017.

"I remain as excited about the future of Dyson as I have always been", the company founder insisted.

The company is best known for its high-end vacuum cleaners but it makes everything from fans to hairdryers and holds over 10,000 patents.

Reports by the BBC indicated the electric auto division employed 500 United Kingdom workers.

Engineer Dyson founded the company in 1993 in Bath and it has grown to sales of over £4.4bn previous year. Currently, Dyson's automotive division has 500 staff employed in the UK.

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