The latest entrant to the electric car market is a little surprising. Dyson hope to launch a vehicle by 2020.
Sir James Dyson claims his company are going to spend £2billion on the project. Making the battery will account for half of the budget.
400 staff have already been secretly working on developing the car.
What’s the car look like?
No one knows. Or if they do they aren’t sharing.
Citing the keen competition in the automotive industry Dyson is keeping everything under wraps.
However Sir James has said the car will be radical and different.
But the design has yet to be finalised. Though the motor is ready.
So what else do we know?
Not a lot. But we do know one thing.
Dyson are not aiming their car at the mass market.
In other words it is going to be expensive. Very expensive.
The UK equivalent of Tesla perhaps?
Why is Dyson doing this?
The race to develop electric cars is hotting up.
The petrol driven car is on the way out. The internal combustion engine is about to be consigned to the scrapheap.
Countries around the world are committed to ending the sale of petrol and diesel powered cars.
France has set an all-electric target of 2040. Norway is even more ambitious. They have targeted 2025 to ban the sale of fossil fuelled vehicles.
The International Energy Agency estimates there will be 140million electric cars on the world’s roads by 2030.
It all means a rush to market. Car manufacturers (and vacuum cleaner makers) are battling to be in pole position to meet demand.
Mercedes, Volvo, and Honda are among those developing electric cars. Nissan already have the Leaf, Renault the Zoe and VW are spending nearly £20billion on developing their range of electric vehicles.
Understandably Dyson see a chance to be on the ground floor of a massive new market. They intend to be ready.
The challenges ahead for electric car makers
Although manufacturers are developing electric and hybrid vehicles there are huge obstacles to overcome. Unsurprisingly most concern the battery.
Cost, safety, and range are the obvious issues.
Most electric vehicles use Lithium ion batteries. The price of these has fallen significantly in recent years. But they are still hugely expensive.
Consultancy firm McKinsey say the battery accounts for 40% of a vehicles cost. They forecast it could take over ten years before electric and fossil fuelled cars are at the same price level.
You wouldn’t think there would be an issue here. Certainly not compared to fossil fuelled cars.
But Lithium ion batteries can easily overheat. An effective cooling system is essential.
There are also safety concerns should a collision occur. If the battery is damaged the flammable liquid within it could combust.
This is the game changer. At the moment range is an issue for many electric vehicles. Some can only travel 100 miles before they need a recharge.
But range will improve as technology moves on. Advances in technology will also lead to lower prices.
The other challenge facing electric vehicles.
To build the required number of charging stations is going to be a huge task. In 2016 there were two million worldwide.
But car manufacturers will be investing billions of pounds on improving the infrastructure. McKinsey say the number of charging stations will grow to 12million by 2020.
Back to Dyson
So the market is there. Will you be driving about in a Dyson electric car any time soon?
More than likely. If you can afford it that is.
History tells us if Sir James Dyson puts his mind to it he will produce a great product. If not a cheap one.
But all the major car manufacturers are developing electric and hybrid vehicles. There should soon be a model within the reach of all of us.