The Dyson electric car

Published by: Steve Cropley, AUTOCAR magazine, on 03 June 2020.

EXCLUSIVE: The inside story of the Dyson EV.

Why did Sir James Dyson pull the plug on his electric car and was it any good? We gain unrivalled access to the car and its creators.


The sudden demise of the Dyson electric car project last October was one of the most shocking events of postwar British car history – because it was so unexpected. Backed by £2.5 billion of personal investment from Britain’s richest man, Sir James Dyson, the all-electric seven-seat luxury car had seemed set for the same shining future as most of Dyson’s previous projects.

But in an email announcing the project’s closure, sent to employees on 11 October last year, the inventor revealed that “we simply can no longer see a way to make the project commercially viable”.

The nub of the problem, he claimed, was that most current electric cars were loss makers whose manufacturers were using them as a way of lowering fleet average CO2 so they could continue selling conventional cars profitably. They were serious about their electric cars for the long term but for now profits were not the priority. These cheap EVs would price the £150,000 Dyson electric car out of the market in its critical launch years, Dyson explained, and he could see no way around it. So he took a fateful decision that “tore all our hearts out” but protected the rest of the Dyson business.

At the time, precious little was known about the Dyson EV outside the company: no details on size, powertrain, running gear and mechanical layout apart from some loose descriptions of a “possible” concept issued about six months before the demise, apparently to support patent applications.

However, Autocar recently obtained exclusive access to the car’s prototypes and creators at Dyson’s R&D base in Hullavington, Wiltshire, talking remotely to Sir James Dyson and to the company’s vice-president of automotive, Ian Minards, who as a long-serving former chief engineer at Aston Martin brought vital car-building expertise to Dyson when he joined in 2016. Another important source was Ian Robertson, a Dyson director who until mid-2018 was a main board member at BMW and an important supporter of BMW’s i electric car programme.

The Dyson car we saw turned out to be remarkably true to the patent illustrations: a large, seven-seat ‘crossover’ style, exactly five metres in length, with short front and rear overhangs and unusually generous ground clearance, riding on convention-busting 24in wheels and relatively high-profile tyres giving a wheel/tyre diameter approaching a metre. Despite the car’s size, and the fact it delivered the ‘command’ driving position that was one of Dyson’s first requirements, it was much lower (at 1690mm tall) than a Range Rover. It looked radical, but it also looked ‘right’. Most outstanding of all its specifications was a mighty, 150kWh lithium ion underfloor battery pack taking up most of the 3275mm wheelbase and giving a 600-mile battery range, Dyson’s unbeatable answer to range anxiety.

To design, develop and test the car – before manufacturing regular production models in Singapore – Dyson acquired and restored hangars and runways at the former RAF Hullavington airfield, a 1937 training base for WW2 pilots close to his existing business in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where despite assertions about the company ‘moving to Singapore’, 5000 engineers continue to research and develop new Dyson products. Indeed, the airfield facilities are already being repurposed for group expansion into other areas . . . .

dyson-0051.jpg


dyson-0060.jpg


FOLLOW THE LINK (below) FOR MORE DETAILS ON: DEVELOPMENT, DESIGN, INTERIOR, SUSPENSION, MECHANICAL DETAILS, and DRIVING THE PROTOTYPE . . . .

 
Last edited:
Aren’t 9 Supply at Hullavington? Or have they move/been shítcanned?
 
Oh! . . . . F.F.S. . . . . :(

Body design

Sir James Dyson and his long-time colleague Peter Gammack did the body design themselves. “We were on a steep learning curve,” says Dyson. “We didn’t involve outside design studios, but we did get some experienced car people in to show us where we were going wrong. There are all sorts of tricks to designing cars that Pete and I didn’t know about. We learned them partly by trial and error, partly from the advice of the experts.”


From the side . . . not so bad . . .

dyson-0060.jpg


But, from the front, and 3/4 view !! That is why "design" (styling) is a profession!

dyson-0051.jpg
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
Aren’t 9 Supply at Hullavington? Or have they move/been shítcanned?
next door in the old shitty leaky buildings, full of Asbestos and cracked concrete
The main runway and more modern hangars and peri track belong to Dyson


the Barracks occupy a few very old pre war hangars which i believe are listed, and many more office type buildings and accommodation blocks and the officers mess which is grade 2 listed
all are in a poor state of repair and neglected due to Government cutbacks
there are also some listed historic buildings that pre date the Airfield
 
Last edited:
Aren’t 9 Supply at Hullavington? Or have they move/been shítcanned?

They were, along with some signals too.

I had a great time there, mostly drunk and occasionally more drunk
 
Published by: Steve Cropley, AUTOCAR magazine, on 03 June 2020.

EXCLUSIVE: The inside story of the Dyson EV.

Why did Sir James Dyson pull the plug on his electric car and was it any good? We gain unrivalled access to the car and its creators.


The sudden demise of the Dyson electric car project last October was one of the most shocking events of postwar British car history – because it was so unexpected. Backed by £2.5 billion of personal investment from Britain’s richest man, Sir James Dyson, the all-electric seven-seat luxury car had seemed set for the same shining future as most of Dyson’s previous projects.

But in an email announcing the project’s closure, sent to employees on 11 October last year, the inventor revealed that “we simply can no longer see a way to make the project commercially viable”.

The nub of the problem, he claimed, was that most current electric cars were loss makers whose manufacturers were using them as a way of lowering fleet average CO2 so they could continue selling conventional cars profitably. They were serious about their electric cars for the long term but for now profits were not the priority. These cheap EVs would price the £150,000 Dyson electric car out of the market in its critical launch years, Dyson explained, and he could see no way around it. So he took a fateful decision that “tore all our hearts out” but protected the rest of the Dyson business.

At the time, precious little was known about the Dyson EV outside the company: no details on size, powertrain, running gear and mechanical layout apart from some loose descriptions of a “possible” concept issued about six months before the demise, apparently to support patent applications.

However, Autocar recently obtained exclusive access to the car’s prototypes and creators at Dyson’s R&D base in Hullavington, Wiltshire, talking remotely to Sir James Dyson and to the company’s vice-president of automotive, Ian Minards, who as a long-serving former chief engineer at Aston Martin brought vital car-building expertise to Dyson when he joined in 2016. Another important source was Ian Robertson, a Dyson director who until mid-2018 was a main board member at BMW and an important supporter of BMW’s i electric car programme.

The Dyson car we saw turned out to be remarkably true to the patent illustrations: a large, seven-seat ‘crossover’ style, exactly five metres in length, with short front and rear overhangs and unusually generous ground clearance, riding on convention-busting 24in wheels and relatively high-profile tyres giving a wheel/tyre diameter approaching a metre. Despite the car’s size, and the fact it delivered the ‘command’ driving position that was one of Dyson’s first requirements, it was much lower (at 1690mm tall) than a Range Rover. It looked radical, but it also looked ‘right’. Most outstanding of all its specifications was a mighty, 150kWh lithium ion underfloor battery pack taking up most of the 3275mm wheelbase and giving a 600-mile battery range, Dyson’s unbeatable answer to range anxiety.

To design, develop and test the car – before manufacturing regular production models in Singapore – Dyson acquired and restored hangars and runways at the former RAF Hullavington airfield, a 1937 training base for WW2 pilots close to his existing business in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, where despite assertions about the company ‘moving to Singapore’, 5000 engineers continue to research and develop new Dyson products. Indeed, the airfield facilities are already being repurposed for group expansion into other areas . . . .

View attachment 479371

View attachment 479372

FOLLOW THE LINK (below) FOR MORE DETAILS ON: DEVELOPMENT, DESIGN, INTERIOR, SUSPENSION, MECHANICAL DETAILS, and DRIVING THE PROTOTYPE . . . .

That's a shame. I'll bet he thought he was going to clean up..
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
Oh! . . . . F.F.S. . . . . :(

Body design

Sir James Dyson and his long-time colleague Peter Gammack did the body design themselves. “We were on a steep learning curve,” says Dyson. “We didn’t involve outside design studios, but we did get some experienced car people in to show us where we were going wrong. There are all sorts of tricks to designing cars that Pete and I didn’t know about. We learned them partly by trial and error, partly from the advice of the experts.”


From the side . . . not so bad . . .

View attachment 479385

But, from the front, and 3/4 view !! That is why "design" (styling) is a profession!

View attachment 479387
surely in this modern day and age a car should be made smaller, more compact and lighter to conserve materials and reduce energy use in moving it, that great fat lump of lard with its rappers wheels should be consigned to a skip
 
surely in this modern day and age a car should be made smaller, more compact and lighter to conserve materials and reduce energy use in moving it, that great fat lump of lard with its rappers wheels should be consigned to a skip
The priority seems to have been range. From where to where I'm not sure. The extra batteries could either increase height or length and breadth. They seem to have chosen the bigger platform area and designed around that. Battery exchanging at charging stations would be quicker, add less mass to the vehicle and cost less.
 

Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
The priority seems to have been range. From where to where I'm not sure. The extra batteries could either increase height or length and breadth. They seem to have chosen the bigger platform area and designed around that. Battery exchanging at charging stations would be quicker, add less mass to the vehicle and cost less.
a car like that will only ever be used in a City or Urban environment , where its presence will promote the drivers wealth
any one who needs to travel long distances usually takes the train, or a large diesel engined car that will easily manage 60mpg on a run
 

anglo

LE
The priority seems to have been range. From where to where I'm not sure. The extra batteries could either increase height or length and breadth. They seem to have chosen the bigger platform area and designed around that. Battery exchanging at charging stations would be quicker, add less mass to the vehicle and cost less.
[/QUOTE
No1] My {new} car has a range of 250miles, I go see a friend 220 miles away, I take an exchange battery,
The exchange battery has only 75% capacity, I won't make it home
No2] It's not easy lifting heavy batteries in and out of cars, to complicate things even more,
the batteries come in different weight and sizes, you would have to keep all these different
batteries in stock, which would be hundreds of batteries
I've worked with battery driven loading equipment in mining, they are real pain
in the arse
 
ISTR seeing the Tesla in CKD form when that was first brought out and there are similarities
The nub of the problem, he claimed, was that most current electric cars were loss makers whose manufacturers were using them as a way of lowering fleet average CO2 so they could continue selling conventional cars profitably.
That could possibly be the truth, cos Tesla has been in the news seeking extra investment. The other distinct possibility is that the links with TATA and BMW may be a problem as may the requirement for Oil to be sold
 

load_fin

War Hero
I think Jimmy realised that there is a lot more to designing a car than a battery, motor and some fancy sketches.

EV buyers are not pepared to sacrifice all the attributes of the petrol car they have just go out of - little things like quiet, effective brakes, road holding, handling, ride, noise (most of which comes from tyres and wind), crash worthiness, things that fit together and don't fall off. Oh, and being able to make them for a song. Then there's the little matter if getting them to customers and supporting them in the field for 10 years after you stop making that model

Tesla learnt this with Model 3; previous buyers got sucked into the Cult of Elon, but Model 3 buyers came from the real world and got out of high quality petrol cars into low quality Teslas and they didn't like it. Don't forget the problems that Tesla had scaling up production - trying to do it using methods that Toyota, VW, Ford and GM had given up with.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
after six months ends up in a council skip like his hoovers
 
Dyson's design ethos seems to be based on taking a simple concept, complicating it, over charging for it and relying on future sales from punters who hope the next big thing will be better than the last mediocre offering.
 

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