Dyson is building an electric car with government funding, according to a document spotted by The Financial Times.
The funding is being awarded to help “Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire,” according to the document seen by the FT, which was part of the government’s “National Infrastructure Delivery Plan.”
Dyson is spending £1 billion over the next five years on developing a new type of battery, according to Bloomberg. Last year, Dyson acquired a battery startup called Sakti3 for $90 million (£64 million). The spinout company from the University of Michigan has a lithium-ion battery that uses new materials and has moved on from a conventional liquid electrolyte around today.
Sakti3’s new batteries rely on “solid-state” technology, which can store twice as much energy as today’s batteries and could be used in smartphones, tablets, cars, and even devices such as solar panels and wind turbines. Solid-state batteries work with solid lithium electrodes (electrical nonmetallic conductors), rather than the mix of liquid chemicals currently used in most phone batteries. The technology is safer, and cheaper to manufacture, too.
British manufacturer Dyson, founded by Sir James Dyson in 1993, initially became famous for its innovative vacuum cleaners before going on to launch its high-tech hand dryers, which are now commonplace in expensive restaurants and corporate offices. The company also makes a bladeless fan.
When asked about the electric car, a Dyson spokeswoman told Business Insider: “I’m afraid we never comment on products that are in development.”
The government document was reportedly updated to remove references to the Dyson car, according to the FT. The document also stated: “This [funding] will secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering.”
Silicon Valley giants like Google and Apple are also developing electric cars, while Elon Musk’s Tesla car is already available to buy.
Dyson has an event planned for next week where it is due to make a number of product announcements.