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Dyson’s venture into electric vehicles comes at a time when more and more automakers are embracing electric powertrain technology; they have an uphill battle to differentiate themselves.
While a £2 billion investment is large, it is on par with research and development costs for established automakers and seems low for a new entrant, especially considering that an entirely new vehicle needs to be developed.
However, as more automakers embrace electric technology, Dyson’s attempt to break into the automotive industry shows how much it has changed in just a few years. Companies with little to no automotive experience are threatening the dominance of legacy automakers because internal combustion engine technology is ceasing to be a differentiator.
I believe Dyson should become a supplier to automakers rather than try to build a complete vehicle. While electric powertrains are simpler than their internal combustion counterparts, passenger cars are extremely complex. Issues like fit and finish, driving dynamics, and safety will likely cause delays for Dyson and require several billion more in investment.
Dyson has to consider other aspects of the ownership experience – for example, after sales service and establishing a dealership network – which require extensive capital investment and planning.
Dyson hinted at manufacturing the vehicle in the Far East; while they are likely to benefit from lower production costs, consumers may be wary about paying for a premium vehicle made in a low cost country from a company with no automotive expertise.