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How Dyson’s abandoned EV could change battery technology for other projects

How Dyson’s abandoned EV could change battery technology for other projects

The news that engineering innovator James Dyson was entering the world of EVs was met with joy from fans but groans from automakers. With a reputation for delivering innovative ideas that shake up the industry, some were not looking forward to the new competition. So it’s a shame that Dyson cancelled the project.

It wasn’t a total waste though.

After spending £500 million, $850 million CAD on the project, Dyson decided to cancel the project. Despite the huge investment, the company didn’t have the economies of scale to make a viable product. Each car would have to retail at around £150,000 or $255,000 CAD just to break even.

“Electric cars are considerably more expensive to make and manufacturers are making big losses on the sale of each car,” he said. “These losses matter less to them because the sales of electric cars allow them to offset against selling traditional vehicles on which they make a good profit.”

But all is not lost as the battery technology Dyson developed may help other automakers.

Dyson’s EV

After cancelling the project in late 2019, it isn’t until now that Dyson has published the specs. The car was similar in size to the Tesla Model X and had three rows of seats and was designed entirely in-house by Dyson engineers.

The EV had an electric motor arrangement with a motor on each wheel with the equivalent of 268 hp between them. It had a single speed transmission similar to a CVT that allowed the car to achieve 0-62 in 4.8 seconds with a top speed of 125 mph.

More importantly, the second generation of batteries developed by the company provided up to 600 miles of range.

The first set of batteries used traditional lithium-ion. This was switched to a new solid-state battery system designed in-house. These batteries could deliver that range for a very similar size, a boost of 50% more than any other EV on the market right now.

They also charge much, much faster than current generation batteries.

It is these batteries that may change how EVs are built in the future. Despite cancelling the EV project, Dyson is continuing to develop the batteries. He has earmarked a further £2.5 billion to the project and will likely sell them to other automakers to recoup that investment.

This could be the answer for electric cars.

Range anxiety has been a significant barrier to entry after price for anyone thinking if going electric. A car with 600 miles of range that can be recharged faster than other batteries will eliminate that for many. If the batteries can be produced economically, this should impact the overall cost of the car, helping address the issue.

So while the car project may have been cancelled, that initial investment may still pay dividends, both for Dyson and electric motoring as a whole.

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