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Dyson Turns UK Airfield Into Track To Test Its New Electric Vehicle

Dyson, the company founded by Sir James Dyson—the British billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner—announced plans on Thursday to build a test track on a renovated historic airfield in southwest England, where it will test the electric car it currently develops and plans to launch in 2021.

In September last year, Dyson unveiled plans to invest US$2.6 billion (£2 billion) in the development of a “radical and different” electric vehicle not aimed at the mass market, whose details haven’t been disclosed because, as the BBC quoted Sir Dyson as saying in an email to staff, “Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential.”

Dyson bought the Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire County early last year, renovated it, and said today that its automotive team has moved in.

The company submitted the plan for the next phase of the airfield redevelopment to Wiltshire County Council this month, it said in the presentation of its plans, revealing “a clear automotive focus for the future.”

Dyson has already restored Hullavington’s hangars, and now it will be creating new buildings and areas to put the secretive battery-powered electric vehicle it is currently developing through its paces. The company plans test tracks for handling, rural and off-road courses, a skid pan, and a high-speed runway for cars which can reach speeds of above 100mph.

Dyson plans to invest US$260 million (£200 million) in the automotive Phase Two.

Related: Airlines Are Suspending Flights Because Fuel Is Too Expensive

“Our growing automotive team is now working from Dyson’s state-of-the-art hangars at Hullavington Airfield. It will quickly become a world-class vehicle testing campus where we anticipate investing £550m, creating even more high-skilled jobs for Britain,” Jim Rowan, Dyson’s CEO said.

The timeline for the secretive EV to hit the market in 2021 is “highly ambitious,” the Financial Times quoted industry analysts as saying. Some experts in manufacturing and automotive design also question whether Dyson hasn’t underestimated the complexity and challenges of designing and building a car, and turning in a profit later, especially without bringing in a partner to the project.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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