I have had the honor of meeting Sir James Dyson twice, and the very mention of his name brings forth several impressions. An eccentric inventor who repackages, redefines and essentially subverts entire categories time and again. A persistent dreamer of a fossil fuel-free world. A critic of those schenzen-based copycat ‘manufacturers.’ And an ardent Brexit supporter.
Which brings us to the Dyson electric car.
Dyson’s electric car patents were made public last week, offering the first glimpse of the vehicle being built by the technological company and some of the inventive steps it is taking in the space. In an internal communication on the announcement shared by founder James Dyson ahead of the patent going public, a few points were revealed:
Expect large and narrow wheels. Sir Dyson mentions how he’s “long been fascinated by wheels and how they were used in engineering icons like the Issigonis Mini and the Moulton bike – I suppose we’ve essentially considered the opposite! The patents show a car with very large wheels, giving a low rolling resistance and high ground clearance. This makes a vehicle suited to city life and rough terrain but could also contribute to increased range and efficiency – vital in a vehicle where every joule of power must be used wisely. The patents also show the wheels to be as close to the front and the back of the vehicle as possible, making a car which is highly manoeuvrable, enabling larger approach and departure angles and improving handling on rough terrain.”
In terms of new vehicle architecture and aerodynamic improvements, the frontal area of a vehicle has a large impact on its aerodynamics and efficiency. The patents therefore show a vehicle where the driver adopts a reclined seating position which would enable a low cabin height and a shallow windscreen angle, reducing drag and increasing driving range. Meanwhile a long wheel base could enable a larger battery pack to be employed, increasing the driving range and enabling a large cabin capacity. The low centre of gravity which results could contribute to the handling and driving experience.
Being a Dyson creation, the inventor promises that the vehicle will include fundamentally new technologies and make some inventive leaps. He also teased how these would build on the propriety motor and battery technology and in-house Dyson research, across multiple core technologies including air treatment, purification, heating and cooling, alongside aerodynamics, vision systems and software electronics.
And lets not forget the batteries. Dyson will rely on its own battery pack to differentiate itself from the rest of the market. Most EV manufacturers, like Tesla, use lithium-ion batteries, where solid lithium electrodes are immersed in an electrolyte solution. Dyson is set to opt for a “solid-state” battery instead. How serious are they about this? Dyson pledged £2.5 billion to its EV project, of which £1 billion is dedicated solely to developing the battery pack.
The electric vehicle project which is packaged as being entirely designed by Dyson, manufactured by Dyson and sold by Dyson, will be manufactured largely from their new HQ in Singapore.