Sir James Dyson has given a surprise peek at his company’s cancelled electric car. The project was canned in October last year when it became painfully evident that the car, codenamed N526, wouldn’t be able to make money.
Dyson now says that it would have needed to make £150,000 per car – clearly impossible when the car in question is a seven-seat SUV that looks like a Range Rover Evoque or Sport – and that Dyson ploughed £500 million of his own money into the top-secret £2.5 billion project which was centred on a revamped hangar in Hullavington, Wiltshire UK – just down the road from Dyson’s main Malmesbury base.
James Dyson talked about the project during an interview with the Sunday Times Magazine as part of its annual Rich List feature. Sir James topped the list for the first time ever with a £16.2 billion fortune.
Sir James Dyson, Britain’s richest man, spent £500m developing an electric car to rival Tesla’s. Then he scrapped it before the first prototype took to the road. He tells John Arlidge why https://t.co/mIVmVFnN6D
— The Sunday Times Magazine (@TheSTMagazine) May 17, 2020
You can see what it looks like in above – and the striking but simplistic interior in the article. The seats, for example, have clearly been thought through in a uniquely Dyson way, with circular headrests.
It was a little strange to see Dyson talking about a failure in an interview about success, but he was clearly using the opportunity to talk about the centrepiece of the project – the company’s proprietary solid-state battery tech which can output excellent performance “even on a freezing February night”.
Clearly the agenda here is to market that technology to other manufacturers. The range cited is 600 miles (presumably based on the European WLTP standard) which means it has around 200 more miles of range than a Tesla Model S and almost double that of the Model X. And that despite the high weight of the Dyson vehicle at 2.6 tons, pulled along by dual 2000kW motors capable of 125mph and 536 brake horsepower.
Sir James also mentioned in the interview that he had driven the car in a closed-off compound. So the car certainly did live, it just won’t ever make it to market.