Dyson chooses Singapore as the home of its first electric car plant

23 Oct 2018

Image: © joyt/Stock.adobe.com

UK-based company Dyson has chosen to establish an electric car plant in Singapore, with the first car scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Dyson, the British company best known for vacuum cleaners and innovative hairdryers, today (23 October) announced it will build its new electric car in Singapore as it becomes the latest company to enter the clean-vehicle race.

The bespoke manufacturing facility is set to be completed in 2020 and is part of a wider £2.5bn investment in new technology around the world.

Leaving the UK

While some people have criticised the company for choosing to opt out of setting up production in the UK, Dyson doesn’t currently make any of its products in the country as it stands. The company does have R&D facilities in the UK, where it employs about 4,800 people.

The company’s founder, James Dyson, was a prominent advocate for the UK to leave the EU during the Brexit referendum. The company stressed that it is still committed to the UK, citing its £200m investment into facilities at its campus at Hullavington airfield, near Wiltshire. Other car manufacturers with UK plants, including BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, have recently discussed the business risks posed by a no-deal Brexit.

Growing Chinese demand

The Singapore location will put the company close to the growing Chinese market, where manufacturers are focusing their sales. China is planning a major move towards electric vehicles to fight its extreme pollution levels.

“The decision of where to make our car is complex, based on supply chains, access to markets and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions,” said Jim Rowan, Dyson CEO.

The company is looking to leverage its ability in the solid-state battery technology and electric motors used in its wider product portfolio. It is still developing traditional lithium ion batteries in parallel with the more experimental solid-state models.

While Singapore is an expensive place to do business, Rowan said the technological expertise in the country would offset this outlay. “It is therefore the right place to make high-quality technology loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle,” he said.

Dyson already employs 1,100 people in the Asian city state. These employees are tasked with building digital electric motors.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects