Sir James Dyson – of vacuum and hand dryer fame – has announced plans to build a Tesla-rivalling electric car. Here’s what we know so far
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If you want an upmarket electric car, Tesla has cornered the market so far. That might not last for long, however, with the announcement that Dyson – the maker of vacuum cleaners and hand dryers – is planning to launch a competitor in 2020.
If you don’t want to wait that long, check out our list of the best electric cars you can buy. Click ‘login’ in the top-right-hand corner to sign up and configure a new car or browse our extensive range of new, nearly new and pre-reg stock cars.
Nothing is known so far about what the Dyson electric car will look like. Founder Sir James Dyson has suggested that the new model will be “radically different” to existing competitors and isn’t using a pre-existing platform. This is a more expensive method than sharing one with another manufacturer but gives Dyson more freedom to set its own specifications.
While we’ve no information about the new model, we know Dyson wants to pitch it as a competitor to Tesla – so it’s likely to come in the form of a luxury saloon or large SUV. It won’t look like the firm’s vacuum cleaners – that would be silly – but we reckon it’ll use lots of glass to keep the cabin airy and possibly composite panels to keep weight down.
Dyson will have to produce an interior worthy of the car’s premium billing – for any other car maker, this would mean plentiful use of leather, metal and wood on all the touch points. Dyson might opt to take this route or it could take a similar approach to the BMW i3 which uses premium-feeling but environmentally friendly materials such as pulped hemp fibres in the cabin.
Expect a dashboard that’s light on buttons, with most on-board functions handled by the car’s infotainment system – it’s also likely to use a screen behind the steering wheel rather than physical dials similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit. Some self-driving features will be integrated into the new model but Dyson says full self driving is some way off yet.
Driving and engines
Teslas have developed a bit of a reputation as supercar killers – as shown in our Tesla drag race – the enormous amounts of instant torque developed by their electric motors launch them down the road at an astonishing pace. If Dyson is to compete with Tesla, it’ll have to offer similarly ludicrous levels of performance to tempt buyers from Elon Musk’s creation.
Considering the relative simplicity of electric motors compared to combustion engines, it’s likely Dyson will at least offer the option of all-wheel drive using a motor on each axle. It’ll also have its work cut out to replicate the fine balance between comfort and controllability struck by most modern luxury cars.
Price and release date
Unsurprisingly, we’ve no idea how much Dyson’s electric car will cost. It’s pitched against Tesla so entry-level models could be priced similar to the Model S’s £65,000 basic price. Top-end versions could stretch up to and possibly beyond £120,000. Designing a car from the ground up is enormously difficult so Dyson has suggested 2020 as a possible release date.
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