Vacuum-cleaner manufacturer Dyson unleashes plans to build a new electric car that will rival Tesla

Dyson, renowned for their premium vacuum cleaners and home appliances, will be going forward with plans to build an electric car. It was announced today that its board members have approved the construction of its first car manufacturing plant in Singapore, with “purpose built advanced [..] facility” due for completion in 2020

Reports this year suggest that the company plans to construct a range of EVs (Electric Vehicles), with one high end model and two more affordable models for the average consumer. This may seem like an unusual turn for a company that specializes in home appliances, but it does have the necessary components on electric cars, including electric batteries and digital motors. Dyson will need to work with its engineering team to construct its EV, and has plans to hire 300 automotive specialists at its R&D center in the UK. Dyson claims they will be able to use what they learned through vacuum manufacturing and apply it to cars. 

The company plans to invest about USD$2.6 billion on the project, almost all of which will be spent in Singapore. However, it claims that around USD$259 million will be spent in the United Kingdom on test facilities and other research.

The British-based company has faced backlash from its 4,800 domestic employees for choosing to construct its new plant in Singapore. The company cited the country’s growing markets, highly-skilled workforce, and multiple links to supply chains as reasons for locating operations in Singapore. 

Jim Rowan, Dyson’s CEO, said in a statement today:

 “The decision of where to make our car is complex, based on supply chains, access to markets, and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions,” Rowan said. “I am delighted to let you know that the Dyson Board has now decided that our first automotive manufacturing facility will be in Singapore. We will begin construction in December and it will be completed in 2020, meeting our project timeline.”

Dyson already has over 1,100 employees in Singapore, and hundreds of others in nearby China, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Its Singapore operations will be focused on an electrical motors plant and an R&D lab with a focus on AI. Singapore also has a pending free trade agreement with Japan and China, two of the world’s largest auto markets. This likely contributed to Dyson’s decision as well.

 “Our RDD teams at both the Singapore Technology Centre and the Advanced Manufacturing Centre have developed world-leading knowledge and represent Dyson at its best,” Rowan said. “Singapore is central to our future and we expect to more than double our team there.”

Dyson plans to unveil its first EV model by 2021, a year later than announced.