Dyson Amsterdam HQ

Dyson electric vehicles to be manufactured in Singapore

Image credit: Dreamstime

The British technology company has confirmed that it will be establishing its first electric vehicle factory in Singapore, putting an end to hopes that the site may be located in the UK.

In September 2017, Dyson announced that it would be investing £2bn in developing its first electric vehicle, with a target launch date of 2020. Although the company is best known for its household equipment, its work on electric motors and battery technology will likely give it a boost in its efforts to design and build its own electric cars.

Since the announcement, there had been some speculation that the factory could be based in the UK. Dyson’s headquarters are based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, and work began on a second major Wiltshire campus last year, which will include a college of engineering and a facility to develop new battery technologies.

However, production of Dyson’s washing machines and vacuum cleaners moved from Wiltshire to Malaysia in 2002 due to lower production costs, while a digital motor production plant was launched in Tuas, Singapore, in 2013. A large majority of Dyson employees are based overseas and none of its production occurs in the UK.

Continuing its expansion overseas, Dyson will also be constructing its first “advanced automotive manufacturing” facility in Singapore. Dyson said that the choice was not made due to cost considerations.

“The decision of where to make our car is complex, based on supply chains, access to markets and the availability of expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions,” said Jim Rowan, Dyson CEO. “Our existing footprint and team in Singapore, combined with the nation’s significant advanced manufacturing expertise, made it a frontrunner.”

“Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high-quality, technology-loaded machines and the right place to make our electric vehicle.”

The factory is due to be completed in 2020, with the first electric vehicles being launched in 2021.

Sir James Dyson – who has recently become a vocal proponent of Brexit – said that the decision was not related to the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU in March 2019. However, the decision to locate automotive production abroad comes amid warnings from leading automakers and trade bodies - including Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders - that a hard Brexit could be devastating for their UK operations.

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