Dyson reveals plans to test out its electric cars on real roads

Vacuum company is spending billions of pounds on new car

Dyson founder and chief engineer Sir James Dyson speaks onstage during the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer launch event at Center548 on September 14, 2016 in New York City
Dyson founder and chief engineer Sir James Dyson speaks onstage during the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer launch event at Center548 on September 14, 2016 in New York City

Dyson has unveiled plans for a huge test track that will allow it to test out its new electric cars on real roads.

The company has long been known to be working on a battery-powered vehicle that it is aiming to launch in 2021. It will have spent billions of pounds on the plan when it is released.

It first publicly recognised the plan in September last year. That openness stands in contrast with rivals like Apple, which has long been rumoured to be working on its own vehicle but has refused to address any of those rumours.

Dyson's track and other facilities at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire are part of a plan by Dyson to start selling electric cars from 2021.

The company, which was founded by billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson, bought the disused airfield two years ago and has already renovated two hangars at the 517-acre site.

That redevelopment cost £84 million and the next phase of the airfield's development would take Dyson's total investment to £200 million.

About 400 automotive staff are now based at Hullavington and a further three buildings will open in the coming months, offering an additional 161,460 square feet (15,000 square metres) of testing space.

Dyson chief executive Jim Rowan said: "Our growing automotive team is now working from Dyson's state-of-the-art hangars at Hullavington Airfield.

"It will quickly become a world-class vehicle-testing campus where we hope to invest £200 million, creating more high-skilled jobs for Britain.

"We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project, strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organisation."

In September last year, Dyson, which is best known for its vacuum cleaners and other domestic appliances, revealed that it has been working on developing an electric vehicle and would be investing £2 billion into the development ahead of the launch in 2021.

Dyson employs more than 12,000 people across the world, with 4,800 working in the UK.

Last year, profits in the Wiltshire-based company surged 27% to a record £801 million.

Additional reporting by agencies

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