British appliance manufacturer Dyson has confirmed that the company is planning to invest GBP 2 billion (over ₹ 18,000 crore) to launch its first electric car with a solid state battery by 2020. In all, the company has planned three electric vehicles, but initially, only a single model will be launched, with the company's main focus on manufacturing and developing a distribution network. The significance of the announcement is that much of Dyson's EV plans is the usage of solid state batteries, considered to be the next step in electric mobility, and more advanced than lithium ion batteries.
The first model is expected to be a premium sedan and not a sports car, confirmed Dyson founder Sir James Dyson. Production will be limited to less than ten thousand units and the car will use the company's name and logo. The first model is reportedly being used by the company to test waters and is not pitched towards high market penetration. Dyson also has plans for two more models which will be developed as mass market products and produced in large numbers to establish the company in the already competitive EV market.
So far, the company hasn't decided on a manufacturing base, or even part suppliers, but the company's founder has hinted at China being where production will eventually take place.
"We'll choose the best place to make it and that's where we'll make it ... Wherever we make the battery, that's where we will make the car. We see a very large market for this car in the Far East ... We want to be near where our markets are and I believe the Far East has reacted [to electric] more quickly than the UK or Europe," said Sir James Dyson.
Contrary to previous claims, Dyson has decided against using solid state batteries for its first model and is instead planning to introduce them in later models. Solid state batteries are much more efficient taking less time to recharge and having higher energy density resulting in more power and cooler operation.
Dyson is a UK based home appliances maker, known primarily for bagless vacuum cleaners. The company has been working on alternate battery solutions for some time and even bought Sakti3, a solid state battery company, to aid its research. The company for now is tight lipped on performance and range figures but the first model will be a premium one, on par with the likes of Tesla.
The team responsible for bringing the vision to reality is already 400 strong including engineers and other industry experts in it. The whole R&D is being done independently with a new factory being set up at Hullavington, close to Dyson's headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.