A patent published this week by electrical appliance mainstay Dyson shows a vehicle with a long-wheel base and reclining seats that has some suggesting the vacuum-maker is planning an off-road EV.
In a memo sent via email, founder Sir James Dyson revealed that the company would not follow other electric carmakers lead of making smaller cars.
In the email, which was obtained by Auto Express, Dyson said that the patent images “certainly don’t reveal what our vehicle will really look like or give any specifics around what it will do, but they provide a glimpse of some of the inventive steps that we are considering.”
“They suggest some of the ways in which this vehicle could differ from the status quo and depict a vehicle which has been developed, from the bottom up, with range and efficiency in mind from the outset.”
The email, which was also sent to employees, describes a vehicle with features that Dyson says would be suitable for both urban and off-road driving.
“I’ve long been fascinated by wheels and how they were used in engineering icons like the Issigonis Mini and the Moulton bike,” Dyson writes.
“I suppose we’ve essentially considered the opposite! The patents show a car with very large wheels, giving a low rolling resistance and high ground clearance. This makes a vehicle suited to city life and rough terrain, but could also contribute to increased range and efficiency.”
The patent describes a long-wheel base between 3.2m and 3.35m long, with ample room beneath the cabin for a decent-sized battery pack.
The vehicle itself would be up to 5 metres long and between 1.6 and 1.8 metres in height.
In the patent document, the images show 24-inch wheels while the email states that ground clearance in the illustrations is approximately 30cm.
Unlike the usually upright seating of other SUV-style vehicles, passengers would travel in the vehicle in laid-back seating much like in a sedan.
While the vehicle certainly sounds like it would be a bold step by the appliance-maker into the world of EVs, Dyson does qualify the email adding that, “It is important to keep this in perspective and remember that we do not always use patents or make products based on patents that we have filed.”
Dyson announced last September that it would leverage its extensive experience in making electric motors by expanding into the automotive market with a £2.5 billion ($A4.6 billion) investment that would include creating an EV development facility with 16km of test tracks, at a disused aerodrome in Hullavington, UK.
The appliance-maker is also planning to build a new EV factory in Singapore where it has extensive supply chains starting 2020.
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.