James Dyson has revealed new information about his company’s failed electric car project, including performance details.
He revealed a prototype to the Sunday Times at the company’s new research centre in Wiltshire, UK.
Sir James Dyson, Britain’s richest man, spent £500m developing an electric car to rival Tesla’s. Then he scrapped it before the first prototype took to the road. He tells John Arlidge why https://t.co/mIVmVFnN6D
— The Sunday Times Magazine (@TheSTMagazine) May 17, 2020
Dyson car design details
The vehicle was known internally as N526. It is a seven-seater, electric SUV with a range of 600 miles. The car is 5m long, 2m wide and 1.7m tall. It weighs 2.6 tons and the body is made from aluminium. It ran on a lithium ion pack that would “have delivered 600 miles on a single charge”, Dyson says.
The car worked was powered by two 200kWh electric motors and had an acceleration of 0-62mph in 4.2 seconds, and could reach a top speed of 125 mph.
There would be room for seven adults, in three seating rows. The seats, described as “thin and firmly upholstered” aim to provide solid lumbar support, according to Dyson.
All the dashboard information, such as sat-nav and speed, “floats in front of your face like a hologram”, according to the Times.
James Dyson named Britain’s richest man
The details emerge as James Dyson is named Britain’s richest man, with a net worth of £16.2 billion (an increase of £3.6 billion in the past year). The car project cost Dyson £500m of his own money.
In October 2019, the company scrapped the project claiming that it was not “commercially viable”. Dyson expanded on this, saying that: “Electric cars are very expensive to make. The battery, battery management, electronics and cooling are much more expensive than an internal combustion engine.”
Each car would have had to have cost around £150,000 for the company to break even. Dyson claims that car manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes and Audi are “making huge losses on every electric car they sell” but that they do it because it “lowers their average carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide emotions overall, helping them to comply with EU legislation”.
In the interview, Dyson said: “There’s huge sadness and disappointment. Ours is a life of risk and of failure. We try things and they fail. Life isn’t easy.”
Despite the failure of the project, Dyson says that many of the employees who were hired to work on the project have remained at the company, and are now working on products like batteries, robotics, air treatment and lighting.