When the news finally came, there were tears. For some, it was a surprise. For others, an inevitability. At 4pm on October 10, hundreds of employees at Dyson’s vast development facility on a former RAF airfield in Hullavington, Wiltshire, trudged out pondering their future. Yet eponymous company founder Sir James Dyson was nowhere to be seen. The cancellation of the firm’s electric vehicle project, delivered via an all-staff email, was fitting. Dyson’s electric car dream, whose very existence had to be coaxed out of its inscrutable chief executive, came to an end in a similar fashion to how it was revealed. With a whimper rather than a bang.
Yet Dyson had come agonisingly close to unveiling its creation. The company that upended the world of vacuum cleaners and hand dryers had finally produced a driveable prototype of its revolutionary electric vehicle, meant to go up against Tesla and BMW – an incredible development, given just months previously much of the car’s design hadn’t gone much further than sketches on computer aided design software, and battery and motor testing was ongoing.