DYSON has scrapped plans to make an all-electric electric car, meaning over 500 workers are at risk of being made redundant.
This decision comes after the company’s board say they have discovered the electric car Dyson has been working on is not commercially viable.
Dyson’s automotive team is made up of 523 people who work in different factories across the world, including Malmesbury – and the firm is in the process of expanding at Hullavington.
The company stressed it is committed to remaining in both towns, saying: “We are working to quickly find alternative roles within Dyson for as many of the team as possible and we have sufficient vacancies to absorb most of the people into our Home business.”
In September 2017 Dyson announced it was working on a battery-powered electric vehicle and the first patents were published in 2019.
It’s not the first time the firm has had to scrap a project for commercial reasons: in 2005 Dyson stopped making what had been hailed as a revolutionary washing machine, after they failed to make the expected profits.
In an email sent to all the firm’s 14,000 workers today, James Dyson explained why the decision to scrap the electric car project was made.
The Dyson Automotive team has developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies. However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable. We have been through a serious process to find a buyer for the project which has, unfortunately, been unsuccessful so far. I wanted you to hear directly from me that the Dyson Board has therefore taken the very difficult decision to propose the closure of our automotive project.
This is not a product failure, or a failure of the team, for whom this news will be hard to hear and digest. Their achievements have been immense – given the enormity and complexity of the project. We are working to quickly find alternative roles within Dyson for as many of the team as possible and we have sufficient vacancies to absorb most of the people into our Home business. For those who cannot, or do not wish to, find alternative roles, we will support them fairly and with the respect deserved. This is a challenging time for our colleagues and I appreciate your understanding and sensitivity as we consult with those who are affected.
Dyson will continue its £2.5bn investment program into new technology and grow The Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology. We will continue to expand at Malmesbury, Hullavington, Singapore and other global locations. We will also concentrate on the formidable task of manufacturing solid state batteries and other fundamental technologies which we have identified: sensing technologies, vision systems, robotics, machine learning, and AI offer us significant opportunities which we must grab with both hands. Our battery will benefit Dyson in a profound way and take us in exciting new directions. In summary, our investment appetite is undiminished and we will continue to deepen our roots in both the UK and Singapore
Since day one we have taken risks and dared to challenge the status quo with new products and technologies. Such an approach drives progress, but has never been an easy journey – the route to success is never linear. This is not the first project which has changed direction and it will not be the last. I remain as excited about the future of Dyson as I have always been; our ambitions have never been higher, our ability to invest has never been greater, and the team has never been stronger.
I am looking forward to our future adventures together.