World's Most Famous Vacuum Maker Enters Car Business
It's official... Dyson, the privately held maker of the world's most powerful vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, is going to have an electric car on the market by the year 2020.
It's like the scenario of an over-budget ’80s action movie: billionaire mogul Sir James Dyson against billionaire mogul Elon Musk.
Dyson doesn't plan to tiptoe into the new venture, either.
According to Sir James himself, £1 billion ($1.34 billion) would be spent on developing the car, with another £1 billion on making the battery.
This commitment is substantial indeed, trumping the $2.5 billion invested by Tesla in its own EV R&D programs since the company's inception.
Progress has been underway for more than two years now, with 400 employees — many poached from competing firms, Tesla included — working on this project at company headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
"Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential," Dyson said in an internal email.
There is no prototype as of yet, but apparently there is an engine, which shouldn't come as a shock to anybody familiar with Dyson's current line of products, all of which are built around powerful, highly efficient electric motors.
One Major Difference That's Going to Keep Elon Awake at Night
Dyson provided few details about the car, but that's not to say they don't exist, as he's claimed to have been conceptualizing his ideal clean-energy vehicle since the 1980s and actively pursuing the market since 1998.
One thing that has surfaced as a likely novelty of what will be the first major EV offering from the UK is that it will not be powered by the lithium-ion variety of batteries preferred by chief prospective rival, Tesla Inc.
"What we're doing is quite radical," Dyson said during an interview with the Guardian, alluding to the implementation of smaller, more stable, more powerful solid-state batteries in place of the mainstream lithium type.
It's no coincidence that 2015 — the year developments began — was also the year Dyson acquired leading solid-state battery developer Sakti3.
Pricing on the new vehicle hasn't been officially stated yet, but the consensus is that it will be quite high, which will preclude it from being a mass-market option — at least at first.
It pays to remember that Tesla's first vehicle, the Roadster, was a two-seat sports car costing more than $100K.
Its appeal, and the advantages that eventually made Tesla the most recognized electric carmaker in the world, was a commitment to style and performance while still adhering to the green ideology.
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If Dyson takes the same road but manages to win the battery war — which has the potential to dwarf the Betamax/VHS conflict of the early ’80s — the result down the line could be a whole line of cheaper models targeting the mass market.
Gigafactory or Gigafumble?
It could also mean the beginning of the end of lithium-ion as the reigning king of portable power storage, and that could have ramifications across a whole spectrum of industries.
But I don't want to get into who and what stands to benefit from the dominance of either lithium or solid-state batteries.
Because no matter which type of battery ends up being preferred by the EV industry as things become more standardized, there is one element that will be growing in demand with the production of every electrical vehicle, period.
It's a metal that's essential in all electric motors and a vast majority of wiring as well, and the fact that one of the biggest names in domestic consumer tech is about to start building cars means there's going to be that much more appetite for the metal.
Current global supplies are already hurting, and moving forward, things are just going to get worse.
Essential in all modern electronic devices, from watches to airliners, this metal is in a silent crisis that's unfolding right under our noses.
You might not know how critical this situation has grown, but I bet you know the metal I'm talking about.
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Fortune favors the bold,
Coming to us from an already impressive career as an independent trader and private investor, Alex's specialty is in the often misunderstood but highly profitable development-stage microcap sector. Focusing on young, aggressive, innovative biotech and technology firms from the U.S. and Canada, Alex has built a track record most Wall Street hedge funders would envy. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.
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