Dyson closes ‘unviable’ electric cars project

James Dyson

Malmesbury-based engineering company  Dyson has told staff that it will close its automotive project as it can’t make it commercially viable.

It is not a product failure, or a failure of the team, James Dyson told staff, their achievements have been immense, given the enormity and complexity of the project.

The company is working to find roles for those who will lose their jobs, a reported 500 people.

Dyson says it will continue its more than £2 billion investment programme in new technology and grow The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology.

It also says it will continue to expand at Malmesbury and nearby Hullavington in Wiltshire, in Singapore and elsewhere globally.

The company says it plans to focus on battery and other technologies.

According to reports, Volkswagen says it will have invested more than $33 billion in electric cars by 2023. It has spent about $1.3 billion on a factory in eastern Germany to make its new electric vehicle, the ID.3.

In January, Dyson revealed that it was relocating its head office, and an increasing number of its executive team, to Singapore.

It said then that its UK investment programme and expansion would continue with construction of new laboratories, enabling the growth of Dyson’s energy storage research programme as well as its robotics programme, one of the largest in the UK.

In 2018, Dyson’s profits broke £1 billion for the first time. New products for wellbeing drove growth globally. The Dyson Airwrap styler, launched in October 2018, became the one of the company’s fastest selling products. It also launched new air purification technology and next generation vacuum cleaners.

UK electric car registrations surged in August but it’s a long road to zero and barriers must be addressed, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Zero emission cars saw the biggest percentage growth, up 377.5%, to 3,147 units as new models and some pent up demand boosted registrations, while 4,014 hybrid electric cars also joined UK roads, an uplift of 36.2%. However, the decline in plug-in hybrid registrations continued, down -71.8% to just 907 vehicles.