Dyson E-Car shelved!

Dyson has shelved his e-car project because he can’t see anyway in which he could make it commercially profitable.

Do we need to subsidise these eco-friendly enterprises or is there sufficient commercial enterprise elsewhere to keep these developments alive ?

I don,t think anybody is making money at the moment. Wait till the big groups like VW, Ford, GM etc put them into mass production in the next 5 years and the costs will come down. Dyson did not really stand a chance imo. Even Apple appear to have given up on their electric car…they tempted many Ford staff away a few years ago, so it was serious attempt. But the regulations are intense at many levels such as safety, crash testing is expensive.

Good question. We are kind-of subsidizing the move from ICE to EV by the big automakers, by providing subsidies to drivers of their ICE vehicles so that the manufacturers can be profitable overall. But for now, EVs from the big manufacturers (BMW, VW, Porsche, Audi, Chevrolet) are loss-leaders, probably requiring much more volume and lower battery prices to really be profitable. Correctly pricing gas/petrol would allow manufacturers to charge higher (profitable) prices for their EVs, provided that buyers considered lifetime cost of ownership (and other exogenous factors such as air pollution) in their purchasing deliberations. Sadly, they typically don’t.

I’m not sad that Dyson couldn’t make it work. I want Ford and Toyota etc. to figure it out.

I always thought Dyson had no chance of building an EV company from scratch - just too ambitious

Presumably a Dyson car motor would be like a jet engine, but using an electric powered fan. (Shame about the noise!) Maybe it was going to be a hovercraft, removing rolling resistance - but the defeating cost is sorting out effective brakes and steering…

I reckon the business model wouldn’t work because they couldn’t see how to build in all those important highly coloured plastic bits that break just outside warranty and cost a fortune to replace, and still get the e-car through regulatory approval.




I was trying to be slightly kinder…but we will never by a Dyson ever again, customer service awful.

To be honest I’m sick and tired of subsidising all manner of green initiatives which aren’t particularly cost effective for individuals currently, and only really seem to benefit companies/installers that hop on the bandwagon.

Take solar panels as an example, as soon as there’s any sign of them becoming anything but prohibitive to the average consumer to install, any incentives are pulled by HMG and then the long term nature of recouping costs puts people off.

If we all had incredibly deep pockets to support these initiatives there would still be plenty who’d stick to cheaper alternatives until legislation prevented them from doing so.

We spend what some would consider as exhorbitant amounts on our hobby, but that’s the nature of all kinds of hobbies - I don’t drive flash cars, buy loads of designer clothes or have expensive holidays abroad, but I enjoy my music and spend more than most people I know on media and playback.

I often wonder if a modern take on Clive Sinclair’s C5 might work for short distances, especially given how popular commercial cycle rental seems to be locally.

Ultimately laudable to try to produce green products, but the reality is that businesses/investors will not do it unless they can see certain profits at the end of the process.

I’ve often wondered why electric vehicle manufacturers haven’t produced some kind of standard swappable electric battery that you’d exchange for a fully charged one at a ‘garage’ rather than having to charge at currently limited charging points. I suspect most people simply do not have properties where they could perform off-road vehicle charging and running cables from house across a public pavement to the street would be a non-starter.

…and the BBC business report says:

Dyson has concluded it simply can’t afford to play with the big boys - although its efforts to make a quantum leap in battery technology will continue.

Yes, we really need ‘quantum leaps’ in battery technology don’t we in order to ‘decimate’ conventional car habits.

I think we need a better battery so that we can effectively store energy from PV’s, wind power and wave power. Oh and for motor vehicles which are clear at point of use.

Me too …

Arguably we should all be funding all manner of ‘green’ initiatives because our western world way of life is unsustainable in the long term - or we need to start going ‘backwards’ in our collective concept of modern living, in respect of which having our own personal metal box powered by some sort of fuel in which to travel to our heart’s content may be one thing that has to be abandoned…


Weight is a significant issue. The idea if a swappable battery pack sounds great but they’d be hundreds of kg to give any reasonable range

Faster charging that can come down to 10 or 15mins more likely for those without chargers at home or work.

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I believe Tesla trialled swappable batteries but dropped the experiment - don’t know the reasons but it didn’t work in practice

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“Faster charging that can come down to 10 or 15mins” here lies an issue. I checked ‘Green Car Reports’ and this says that a modest electric car like the Nissan Leaf uses 34kWhr to do 100 miles, so assuming your systems are 100% efficient, (which they aren’t), if you want to replenish your battery fully after this journey you need to put in 34kWhrs. Assuming a UK domestic 230V AC supply, a charging rate of 1kWhr = 4.35A for 1 hour, so for 34kWhrs that means 34x4.35A = 147.8A and to do this is 10 mins would mean 147.8A x 6 = 887A. This is a large supply, (about the capacity of one phase of a typical housing estate substation) for one household for one car! Any way its a lot of current for a short charging time. Perhaps we could manage car charging so that only a few charge at a time, but the infrastructure to each house would need to change and the gargantuan cable connection to your car. Note the battery size here is not terribly relevant, if it can store at least 34kWhrs to do the journey, it needs at least 34kWhrs to fully replenish it. It is suggested though that most car trips will be shorter and will deplete the car battery by fewer kWhrs.

Oh, and this all assumes that the car battery can accept charge at this very high rate, my understanding is that they cannot.

Compare this to fuel delivery from petrol pumps, One Litre of petrol gives approx. 9.7 kWhrs so consider this question, how long does it take to put 3.5 litres of petrol into your car? Not long eh. We have all got used to the energy density of petrol, which is very high.

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No - completely unnecessary! Nobody needs to be able to charge their car at home in ten minutes. Nobody - or maybe a vanishingly small number of people. And actually it would be impossible as the last 10%-20% of charging slows right down and needs to do so to get all the cells equally charged

I can get 80-odd kWh into my car overnight. On a long journey (more than 200 miles in a day) I can recharge at 50-100 kW per hour assuming I can access a decent working dc charger - though there aren’t enough of them yet

Agreed Tim, so it requires a change of practice and attitudes, plus a little planning. I do however wonder how many people in the future will have the excuse of, “I can’t get into work today, I forgot to plug my car in last night!”. :0)

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Pity about the Dyson car though.

We need innovative organisations like his to apply their energy to this challenge. I hope that there will be some spin offs for Dyson from their research to date.

You have a bit of a change in mindset driven by the need to change. It’s good for mental arithmetic practice as you drive somewhere and have to keep checking you have enough power to get to an appropriate charging point - which you can influence by the way you drive, and having a backup plan. Or two!