Dyson has cancelled its plans to build an electric car.
The company had built a “fantastic” vehicle, founder James Dyson wrote in an email, but the £2.5bn project is not “commercially viable”.
Dyson will now close its facilities in Singapore and the UK, he said. The electric car division employs more than 500 people, and Sir James said the company would try to find them positions on other projects.
The company had already invested vast amounts of money into the project, including building testing tracks in the UK that were already in use. Those will now be used for other work, Sir James said.
Dyson’s electric vehicle was announced in 2017 and the cars were expected to be completed next year.
Sir James stressed that the decision was not a “product failure”.
“We have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable,” he wrote in an email by the BBC.
“The Dyson automotive team has developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies.”
The company had tried and failed to find a buyer for the project, Sir James said.
The battery technology developed by the car would go on to help other projects, he wrote. Dyson had also developed other technologies – “sensing technologies, vision systems, robotics, machine learning, and AI” – which Sir James said ”offer us significant opportunities which we must grab with both hands”.
“Our battery will benefit Dyson in a profound way and take us in exciting new directions,” he claimed in the email.
Almost exactly a year ago, Dyson caused controversy when it announced that the car would be built in Singapore, despite Sir James’ very public backing of Brexit. At the time it claimed the decision was not related to Brexit but had been a “complex” one based on “supply chains, access to markets and the availability of the expertise”.
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