Sir James Dyson’s eagerly anticipated electric car is likely to be a long, sleek crossover-style premium saloon that occupies roughly the same road space as a Range Rover but looks like having completely different proportions from that classic British 4×4 – and every other production car on the road.
Key details of the billionaire inventor’s thinking on electric vehicles have dramatically emerged from three patent applications made public today. They cover the car’s ultra-long wheelbase, unique ‘crossover’ body, unprecedentedly large and thin wheels, short body overhangs and unusually ‘fast’ windscreen.
As a caveat, though, Dyson’s famously secretive people emphasise that their images – and therefore ours – don’t necessarily show exactly what their car will look like, only some design and engineering devices likely to be used by it.
The Dyson car, whose long-rumoured existence was confirmed late in 2017 when the inventor revealed plans to spend £2.5 billion of his own money on it, has been taking shape for the past two years. Work has been led by former Aston Martin chief engineer Ian Minards, who joined Dyson in September 2016 as vice president, automotive.
The new Dyson patents show nothing less than a complete rethink of big-car design and engineering conventions for the fast-approaching electric age. The refinements are aimed at delivering low weight and low aerodynamic drag to maximise performance and battery range while providing generous cabin space and first-class ride comfort, a particular Dyson priority.
The car will be sold globally and seems likely to have particular appeal in China. No production volume is spoken of, but it seems clear from the size of the engineering effort that this is much more than a bespoke, hand-made effort. The Dyson name, and the company’s global reputation for unusual, progressive, high-quality products that push at existing boundaries, will surely help it find markets. Everything we’ve seen points to a well-backed, credible, long-lasting rule-breaker of an electric luxury car. Let’s hope we’re right.