Dyson kills its electric car project and turns to solid-state batteries

Dyson said it will end its electric vehicle project after determining it could not make the car commercially viable or find a buyer.

The company, known for its high-tech vacuum cleaners and fans, said in a statement Thursday that its automotive team had developed a fantastic car, but decided to close the project. Dyson also sought a buyer for the project, but has been unsuccessful so far, the company said in the statement.

Dyson announced in September 2017 that it was working on a battery electric vehicle with an all-electric drivetrain that would be launched by 2020. The company’s board approved in October 2018 a decision to construct its first advanced automotive manufacturing facility in Singapore. The two-story manufacturing facility was scheduled for completion in 2020.

Dyson isn’t totally abandoning technology related to electric cars, and says it’s still committed to Singapore. The company will continue its £2.5 billion ($3.1 billion) investment program into new technology and plans to focus on manufacturing solid-state batteries and developing sensing technologies, vision systems, robotics, machine learning and AI, company founder James Dyson wrote in the statement.

“Our battery will benefit Dyson in a profound way and take us in exciting new directions,” he wrote, adding that the company’s investment appetite is undiminished and it will continue to deepen its roots in both the U.K. and Singapore.

Dyson said the closure was not a product failure, or a failure of the team. The company is looking to find alternative roles for employees who worked on the project and has enough vacancies in its home business to absorb most of these people, according to Dyson.

“Since day one we have taken risks and dared to challenge the status quo with new products and technologies,” Dyson wrote in the statement. “Such an approach drives progress, but has never been an easy journey — the route to success is never linear. This is not the first project which has changed direction and it will not be the last. I remain as excited about the future of Dyson as I have always been; our ambitions have never been higher, our ability to invest has never been greater, and the team has never been stronger.”