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Dyson Will Build 'Radically Different' Electric Car by 2020

"There’s no point doing something that looks like everyone else's," James Dyson said. "It is not a sports car and not a very cheap car."

Dyson, best-known as a manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, hand driers and air filters, will build an electric car by 2020, founder James Dyson said Sept. 26.

The company is investing one billion pounds (US$1.34 billion) to develop the car, plus the same sum to create solid-state batteries to power it, Dyson said. These investments will dwarf money the company is spending on research and development for its vacuums and air filters.

Dyson is joining a crowded field, with manufacturers from Volkswagen AG and Daimler AG to Toyota Motor Corp. and Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. all competing to popularize electric vehicles. While most of these companies are using lithium-ion batteries in their current models, Dyson said its car would use solid-state batteries that are smaller, more efficient, easier to charge and potentially easier to recycle. Toyota is also working to commercialize solid-state batteries and said earlier this year that it hopes to have them in its electric vehicles by 2020 too.

Dyson said his electric car would be “radically different” than those being designed by other car makers, including Tesla. “There’s no point doing something that looks like everyone else’s,” he said. “It is not a sports car and not a very cheap car.”

He said he hopes the vehicle will be just the first of a line of electric vehicles from Dyson and predicted that within a few years electric cars would be the largest source of revenue for the company, eclipsing its existing products.

By Jeremy Kahn

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