James Dyson, seller of fancy vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, wanted to make an electric car. It’s not as far-fetched as it seems at first glance: Dyson’s innovation in terms of power and efficiency of electric motors lends itself well to this application. But after investing half a billion dollars in research and development, the Dyson auto project was canceled in October.
Dyson was ready to invest more than two billion dollars in the project, according to a recent Sunday Times article. But the expected cost of the crossover vehicle (around $ 150,000) meant that it would lack mass appeal. Economies of scale simply did not resist. This is due in part to the fact that the car used a revolutionary power system: a semiconductor battery, which gives it a projected range of 600 miles. That would almost double the reach of Tesla’s similar all-electric crossover, the Model X.
Solid state batteries are not a new idea, but their practical application in modern devices is an emerging part of the market. They use a solid metal as the electrolyte, rather than a liquid, like the lithium salt in the battery of the gadget you are probably holding right now. This translates into a huge increase in battery life in a battery of the same physical volume, as well as a massive reduction in recharge time, another obstacle for electric vehicles trying to break into car sales. traditional. Solid state batteries are also safer because they cool and do not contain toxic liquids.
Unfortunately, while an entire part of the technology economy is dedicated to conventional liquid-filled batteries, large-scale semiconductor batteries are still in the prototype stage. Putting one in a commercial vehicle is not impossible, but it would put that vehicle far beyond the budget of most people who are considering buying a new car. Apparently, Dyson was not interested in marketing exclusively to Ferrari and Lamborghini.
Dyson hopes to sell its research on battery and vehicle technology to an existing electric vehicle manufacturer, but has not yet succeeded. Maybe we will see a revolutionary cordless vacuum cleaner that sucks up dirt for hours on a charge before seeing electric vehicles that can run all day.