Electric appliance giant Dyson says it will build a new electric car factory in Singapore, with a view to starting production by 2020.
Singapore has been chosen by the British-based company due to its existing presence and proximity to “an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce”. Dyson already has 1,100 employees and makes millions of high speed digital motors a year in Singapore a year.
The company founded by James Dyson first announced it will be joining the race to manufacture electric vehicles back in September, and that it would commit £2.5 billion to develop EVs>
That plan included building a facility at the UK’s disused Hullavington aerodome and 16km of tracks on which to test them. Construction of the Singapore facility will begin in December, 2018, to be completed by 2020.
The news came from an internal letter from Dyson chief Jim Rowan, who wrote that: “Our existing footprint and team in Singapore, combined with the nation’s significant advanced manufacturing expertise, made it a frontrunner.”
Given the expertise that Dyson already has in developing and manufacturing digital motors and electrical appliances using automated processes, their expansion into EVs is pretty much a no-brainer.
The experience in automated production may give it a running chance against Tesla, which recently spent $US5 billion on land in China for a new EV factory, and of course the many auto giants in the Asian region well into development of their own EV ranges.
Setting up the first ever car manufacturing facility in Singapore won’t be a cost-saving affair.
“Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus,” Rowan said. “It is therefore the right place to make high quality technology loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle.”
Singapore does have its advantages through, such as a free trade agreement with China, which will mean access to cheaper components from the world’s largest EV market.
Dyson is extremely light on details about what kind of EV it is making, although Rowan says Dyson’s growing development at Hullavington is “making excellent progress”.
Whatever it is, Dyson is keen to get the motors running, figuratively and literally.
“It is a fast-moving, exciting, and pivotal project for Dyson,” Rowan wrote.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.