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Dyson created a phenomenal electric car, invested billions, and now they've pulled the plug

2019-10-20 06:00
Dyson founder

Image: AFP

It was in 2017 when British electronics maker Dyson announced its plans to build an electric car, a year later the firm announced plans to build a factory in Singapore inn 2020, but it was pushed back to 2021.

Fast-forward to 10 October 2019, CEO Sir James Dyson (British inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner) announced plans to close the firm’s entire automotive division in a company-wide email, despite already filing a patent, hiring staff, and promising a 2021 launch, Business Insider Singapore reported.

Pulling the plug

The company already unveiled plans for a Singapore-made electric car but ultimately said the project was unfortunately not commercially viable, and no buyers wanted to take over.

READ | Dyson to build electric car in Singapore, aimed at China

According to a spokesman from Singapore’s Economic Development Board, the abortion of the project would not result in major disruptions to its operations or workforce there.

Below is the letter James Dyson sent to staff, according to Business Insider Singapore:

Dear Colleagues.

The Dyson Automotive team has developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies. However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable. We have been through a serious process to find a buyer for the project which has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so far. I wanted you to hear directly from me that the Dyson Board has therefore taken the very difficult decision to propose the closure of our automotive project.

This is not a product failure, or a failure of the team, for whom this news will be hard to hear and digest. Their achievements have been immense – given the enormity and complexity of the project. We are working to quickly find alternative roles within Dyson for as many of the team as possible and we have sufficient vacancies to absorb most of the people into our Home business. For those who cannot, or do not wish to, find alternative roles, we will support them fairly and with the respect deserved. This is a challenging time for our colleagues and I appreciate your understanding and sensitivity as we consult with those who are affected.

Dyson will continue its £2.5bn investment program into new technology and grow The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. We will continue to expand at Malmesbury, Hullavington, Singapore and other global locations. We will also concentrate on the formidable task of manufacturing solid state batteries and other fundamental technologies which we have identified: sensing technologies, vision systems, robotics, machine learning, and AI offer us significant opportunities which we must grab with both hands. Our battery will benefit Dyson in a profound way and take us in exciting new directions. In summary, our investment appetite is undiminished and we will continue to deepen our roots in both the UK and Singapore.

Since day one we have taken risks and dared to challenge the status quo with new products and technologies. 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.

I am looking forward to our future adventures together.

Best wishes,

James.

Read the original article here.

Compiled by: Robin Classen

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