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Dyson kills Singapore electric car project with closure of auto division

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"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," says Mr Dyson.

Singapore

HOME appliance giant Dyson has scrapped its entire automotive division - including its plan for an electric car plant in Singapore, the British firm said on Thursday.

Founder and chairman James Dyson said the company is shuttering the division due to a lack of commercial feasibility. Dyson had made its patents for its electric car public in May.

"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," he said in an email to staff on Thursday.

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In October 2018, the firm, best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, said it will manufacture its electric cars at a two-storey facility in Singapore, targeting to roll out the first car in 2021. Subsequently, in January this year, Dyson announced it was moving its headquarters from the UK to Singapore.

Tan Kong Hwee, assistant managing director at Singapore's Economic Development Board, said on Thursday that Singapore will continue to play an important role in Dyson's growth plans.

"We understand that Dyson has chosen to focus on growing its core home business, including new product categories, and on the development of its battery technology... This will lead to the creation of exciting job opportunities in its HQ, R&D and manufacturing teams."

Mr Tan added: "As Dyson's decision not to pursue the electric vehicle business was taken at an early stage, the disruption to its operations and workforce in Singapore will be minimal. Singapore and Dyson have enjoyed a strong partnership for more than ten years and we look forward to building on this partnership."

Mr Dyson said the company will continue to expand in Singapore, the UK and and other global locations. It will also focus on manufacturing solid-state batteries and other technologies, such as sensing and vision systems and robotics, machine learning, and AI.

"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," he said.

In May, it was reported that Dyson had started to recruit talent for the plant. LinkedIn job placements showed that the company was looking for automotive design engineers, free trade agreement specialists, software engineers and design engineers, among other roles. In all, there were more than 100 job listings under Dyson.

Mr Dyson also appears to be sinking roots in Singapore, forking out huge sums for a Good Class Bungalow and a "super penthouse".

Last month, Bloomberg reported that the family office of Mr Dyson - Weybourne Group, incorporated in Singapore - is in the process of hiring IT and financial services staff.