Dyson Founder’s Scrapped EV Cost $600 Million

Another Tesla killer bit the dust — $600 million worth of dust at that. Though, it never actually got out of the dust.

Dyson founder, inventor Sir James Dyson, said that Dyson was designing an electric that was supposed to be a Tesla rival. He scrapped the plans to mass produce the electric SUV back in October. He decided that it wasn’t “commercially viable.”

Photo courtesy Dyson

Dyson has made public photos and videos of the prototype electric SUV that Dyson and his team of engineers were working on. He recently told London’s Sunday Times that he spent more than $600 million of his own money on this project, as we reported on CleanTechnica as well.

In a blog post that Dyson penned earlier this week, he said that his team “developed a radical car which was loaded with technology.” He said that it was ready for production and that his team of engineers designed the EV “from the ground up.” The platform for the SUV was built on a skateboard design like that used by the Model 3 and could adapt to different driving situations.

Photo courtesy Dyson

The range on this vehicle would have been 600 miles with a 150-kilowatt-hour battery pack. It would have had a “highly efficient Electric Drive Unit comprising Dyson digital electric motor, speed transmission and state of the art power inverter,” he wrote in his post.

“When I first drove our car, I felt exactly the same as when I first used our hairdryer prototype or the vacuum cleaner — I enjoyed it, but I was not surprised, in fact, we immediately looked for improvements,”
— Sir James Dyson.

Photo courtesy Dyson

The sad news is that the costs of mass producing Dyson EVs wound up outweighing the revenue Dyson was hoping to make with it. “Electric cars are considerably more expensive to make and manufacturers are making big losses on the sale of each car,” he wrote. He also said that it was difficult to cancel “because hundreds of engineers, scientists, and designers, had poured everything into the project and it was a great engineering achievement.”

My 2.5¢

I think this is really sad. The EV is beautiful and if Dyson achieved what he planned for the car (most notably the range), then it would have been a great rival for Tesla — one that would have been worthy of the title of rival.

Tesla is a leader of the EV industry worldwide and it’s easy to see this. When you have companies like Dyson getting inspired by Tesla to make their own EVs, it’s a beautiful thing. I think what really touched me was his difficulty at cancelling it. We all have dreams, ideas, and projects that we pour our souls into. And when those dreams fail or aren’t viable, we feel a sense of loss.

However, the engineers, scientists, and designers have gained a lot by working on this project. They gained experiences that they can apply to different parts of their lives. Dyson may have spent $600 million, but I don’t think it was a waste. I think it was a powerful lesson that will enable many of those who worked with him on this project to not only use their skills but develop them even further for the better somewhere else.

Perhaps, as time goes on and the costs of mass producing EVs gets lower, Dyson can pick up where he left off.

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