James-Dyson

Dyson has been revealed as a recipient of a UK government funding to develop electric cars. Yes, Dyson, the company known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, bladeless fans and the hand dryer you use in the mall’s toilet.

According to The Guardian, the UK company previously refused to rule out rumours it was building an EV. When Dyson CEO Max Conze was asked last year if the company was working on an electric car, he replied: “We are ruling nothing out. Like our friends in Cupertino [Apple] we are also unhealthily obsessive when it comes to taking apart our products to make them better.”

But last week, the government unwittingly disclosed that Dyson is working on one. “The government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174m (RM993m) of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering,” said the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

Asked by the UK broadsheet if the company was developing an electric car, a Dyson spokesman said: “We never comment on products that are in development.” An answer from the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles, which encourages the roll-out of electric vehicles as a way to cut air emissions, is pending.

The report adds that Dyson recently announced 20% higher profits in 2015, driven by strong growth in China. The company said it plans to invest £1bn in battery technology over the next five years. Last October, Dyson bought solid-state battery company, Sakti3, for $90m (RM352m), which 68-year old founder Sir James Dyson said had “developed a breakthrough in battery technology.”

Also, many of Dyson’s appliances utilise small, light and efficient electric motors developed over 10 years, which may be useful in developing a new electric car. In 2014, Dyson pledged that his company, which now has over 1,000 engineers, would spend £1.5bn on R&D to create future products, aiming to launch 100 new electrical products by 2018. Dyson has a base in Malaysia.