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Dyson to launch electric vehicle by 2020

British technology company Dyson says it’s started work on a battery electric vehicle due by 2020.

Sir James Dyson at the Dyson HQ in Malmesbury, Wiltshire

Sir James Dyson at the Dyson HQ in Malmesbury, Wiltshire

The firm, best known for its vacuum cleaners, revealed the news in a letter from founder Sir James Dyson to employees, where he announced that a team of more than 400 people are already working on the vehicle, combining Dyson engineers with individuals from the automotive industry.

Dyson added that the firm would invest £2bn in the project but wouldn’t reveal technical details, saying: “Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential.”

He commented: “It is our obligation to offer a solution to the world’s largest single environmental risk. I look forward to showing you all what I hope will be something quite unique and better, in due course!”

Dyson added that his interest in finding solutions to air quality issues dated back to 1988 when he 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. A team at Dyson began work in 1990 on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted on a vehicle’s exhaust system to trap particulates and had developed several working prototypes by the early 90s but nobody was interested in the diesel exhaust capture system and the project was shelved.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.