The wealthiest man in all England reveals for the first time what the electric car that should have competed with Tesla would have looked like. Sadly, that dream is now fallen to pieces. Sir James Dyson explained why in an exclusive interview with the Sunday Times.
“This is the first one that ran. I drove it secretly in a screened-off compound we have here.” Sir James Dyson told the Sunday Times exclusively as he unveiled for the first time the electric car that was supposed to compete with the American-built Tesla.
The British inventor, and currently the wealthiest man in Britain, had a dream: To build an efficient high-end electric car, possibly better than the Tesla.
That dream broke down last October with the announcement of the definitive abandonment of the project, after having invested £500 million (€580 million, $650 million). The car, however, exists. Sure, there is only a single working prototype, but that’s enough for now. Its “code” name is N526, but for everyone it simply was the “Dyson car.”
It is the first time that Sir Dyson displays his creation in public, at the research center in Wiltshire. It is a large 7-seater electric SUV with an autonomy of over 900 kilometers (560 miles). Dyson published for the first time the image of the only marching prototype, the car that was supposed to compete with Elon Musk’s Tesla.
In 2017, when Dyson provided the first details of the project through an email sent to employees. 400 specialists started to work on the electric car project at the company’s headquarters in Malmesbury, in South-West England. Almost every technician came from the Chinese company Techrules, specialized in turbine battery charging, and from the Californian Faraday, engaged for years in self-driving electric mobility.
In fact, Dyson’s car would most likely have been built in China or Singapore.
“There’s huge sadness and disappointment. Ours is a life of risk and failure. We try things and they fail. Life isn’t easy”
The prototype N526 has the looks of a large 7-seater SUV and it’s quite similar to the Tesla Model X. Dyson has always talked about remarkable performances: acceleration from 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 4.8 seconds and a maximum speed of over 200 km/h (124 mph). The car was going to be all-wheel drive with a power of 536 HP.
Sir Dyson told the journalists how he suddenly decided to cancel the project, after investing years of research and £500 million. During the interview, Dyson talked about the difficulties of achieving economic sustainability, despite the fact that the car should have had a public price of around €150,000.
According to the newspaper, the British company could license solid state batteries (the evolution of current lithium, lighter and more powerful) and other related technologies to mobility to other car manufacturers, in order to reduce the huge money losses the company had to face.