Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Dyson vacuum cleaner company to build electric vehicle factory in Singapore

Published:Sunday | November 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Dyson is taking another step towards making an electric vehicle. The British vacuum-cleaner company recently announced that it will build an automotive factory in Singapore, where it will assemble its first electric car.

The company, which first announced plans for an electric car in September 2017 after years of rumours, is hoping its battery expertise will translate into the automotive space.

Founder and chief engineer James Dyson's vision for an electric car includes about US$2.7 billion in spending on technology and production.

Whether the company can build a successful electric car from scratch remains to be seen. Success would make Dyson a competitor with the likes of Tesla, which has become the leading seller of electric vehicles.

Dyson's Singapore plant is expected to open in 2020. The company already has 1,100 employees in the area, including engineers and production workers making device motors.

"Singapore also offers access to high-growth markets, as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce," Dyson CEO Jim Rowan told employees in a letter. "Singapore has a comparatively high cost base but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high- quality technology-loaded machines and the right place to make our electric vehicle."

Dyson's move comes after a team of employees laboured in secret to fulfil their chief's longstanding ambitions to use technology to combat pollution. So far, the company's focus has primarily centred on battery-powered vacuum cleaners and other electronics.

In 2015, James Dyson told USA Today that the company would invest up to US$1 billion in a battery factory.

Dyson is still keeping details of its electric car secret.

- Contributed