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Dyson cancels its electric car project for not being ‘commercially viable’

Image credit: reuters

Sir James Dyson (pictured left) has announced that plans for his company to build an electric car have been scrapped as it could not be made “commercially viable”.

Dyson first announced in 2017 that it would invest £2bn in developing electric vehicle technology, with an anticipated release date of 2020.

In May this year he disclosed the first details of the vehicle while announcing it would be delayed until 2021.

Yesterday he said that he tried to find a buyer for the project but had “been unsuccessful so far”.

“I wanted you to hear directly from me that the Dyson Board has therefore taken the very difficult decision to propose the closure of our automotive project,” he added.

The research that has already been carried out will not go to waste. “We will also concentrate on the formidable task of manufacturing solid state batteries and other fundamental technologies which we have identified: sensing technologies, vision systems, robotics, machine learning, and AI offer us significant opportunities which we must grab with both hands,” he said adding that that the battery technology will benefit Dyson “in a profound way”.

Sites including Malmesbury in Wiltshire, and Singapore will be expanded and the company will concentrate on the “formidable task” of manufacturing solid state batteries and other technologies.

He added: “In summary, our investment appetite is undiminished and we will continue to deepen our roots in both the UK and Singapore.”

Around 520 people were in the Dyson Automotive team, mainly based in the UK. Dyson said the company was working to find alternative roles for as many of them as possible within other areas of its business, which makes air purifiers, fans and hair dryers as well as cleaners.

Development was taking place at Dyson’s Hullavington campus in Wiltshire although the company has not publicised a prototype.

In 2016 Dyson received £16m from the UK Government to help fund the battery research as part of  the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

The Department for Business has been contacted to ask what will happen to those funds now the project has been cancelled.

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