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Dyson, the Vacuum Cleaner Company, Wants to Make a Freaking Electric Car

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Dyson has made a name for itself by inventing all sorts of new approaches to vacuuming your house, and it seems that the company is now looking to innovate in a whole new “clean” industry. On Tuesday, founder James Dyson announced that his company is making a major play in the electric car business.

Dyson tweeted a statement from its founder that makes it clear that he’s serious about this. In fact, he first started thinking about it almost 30 years ago. He writes:

In 1988 I read a paper by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, linking the exhaust from diesel engines to premature death in laboratory mice and rats. In March 1990 a team at Dyson began work on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates.

By 1993 we had developed several working prototypes and showed an early iteration to British television programme Blue Peter. The team went on to develop a much more sophisticated technology.

To our chagrin, nobody at the time was interested in employing our diesel exhaust capture system and westopped the project. The industry said that ‘disposing’ of the collected soot was too much of a problem! Better to breathe it in?


James Dyson tells Reuters that he’s already built a team of 400 engineers who have been working on batteries—that will eventually power the car—for two-and-a-half years, and he’s actively recruiting more talent. At the moment, the company is committing $2.7 billion to the car’s development and it wants to roll something out by 2020.

Earlier this year, Dyson announced plans to create an AI research facility located in Singapore. With a growing focus on AI, it’s plausible that Dyson could one day attempt to compete with self-driving projects from the likes of Google and Telsa—but Dyson has so far suggested nothing of the sort, and it’s possible the company’s current investments into autonomous vacuuming won’t lead to a proper self-driving car.


Other than that, Dyson’s keeping quiet on details. “The project will grow quickly from here but at this stage, we will not release any information,” he wrote.

[Dyson, Reuters]