As Elon Musk put it "For cars it's maybe 100 times harder to design the manufacturing system than the car itself." and I think as soon as it dawned on them the scale of the manufacturing process to build this car and all the precisely engineered systems they got cold feet. Yes conceptually a car is similar to a vacuum cleaner, there's a motor, a battery, a control system, a chassis and bodywork but they are in a completely different league in terms of the scale and engineering. A car needs to be able to run safely without faults for 8 hours a day 365 days a year whereas Dyson vacuum cleaners tend to have a lot of reliability problems even when using for an hour each week.
From what I've heard from employees, software is looked down on by management and is not really something they 'get'. Things like app connectivity are after thoughts and not core to their products.
A good chunk of what makes a Tesla unique is the radically different software and digital user experience. Dyson (the company) are not ready to embrace the fast moving culture that enables that.
That is a surprise - of all the IoT devices I've owned Dyson's products have been the most rock solid and polished. Their mobile apps (on iOS at least) have been absolutely flawless, never requiring me to sign in again and again or having connectivity issues with WiFi. Their appliances also don't seem to do any funny stuff over DNS unlike some of the flakier stuff I've owned (one of which was making 20k DNS requests a day to a non-existent diagnostic server address on the local subnet).
God help us the day something like a fan or a vacuum cleaner needs "app connectivity".
My Whirlpool emitted a diagnostic puddle of water underneath it. I Googled the seal, ordered it from an independent supplier, and installed it myself.
It is now on its 25th year of use with us, and cost less than $400 when new.
How much cheaper would an electric car like a tesla be if it didn't have autopilot, electronic keys, and LCDs everywhere? How much more secure would it be without an e-key to unlock it? I hope when I'm ready to buy an electric car I can find something like that.
All software is expensive up front but near zero cost to deploy to each additional car.
At some number of cars sold the software costs becomes a rounding error.
Meanwhile, software is costs at once so traditional car manufactures uses cheaper chip and force programmers to write efficient code.
It's probably also less engineering effort to put a set of controls on the screen than to design the corresponding physical controls.
My commute is 8 miles of which 6 is on a freeway. Doesn't feel like a burden. Unlike say a tech bro doing his 50 mile commute down 101. So I'm dubious an autopilot would be a big win from me.
Pretty terrible stuff. If it uses proprietary tones as a diagnostic code you can't diagnose and fix it out yourself.
You can use minimodem to scream a file across the room from one computers speakers to another computers modem.
It's a cute trick but requires very little in the way of computation, and is a far cry from the bluetooth infested dumpster fire that is found in the modern app-controlled smart appliance offering.
It's also not significantly an improvement from giving your products clearly labeled short model names and having a two digit code on a 10c LED screen, preferably with a corrosponding entry in the manual. I'd happily give it up in exchange for a washing machine with minimal electronics, so that it will last 20 years and can be fixed with duct tape and epoxy.
But my guess is that pretty much every possible outcome of the diagnostic process is "Make sure an adult is home between noon and 6 PM next Tuesday to let the repair technician in." It's safe to say that empowering the consumer is pretty far down the list at Samsung's R&D department.
Not everyone can work from home, so the shorter the visit the better. If the diagnostics are done remotely, they can arrive with the right parts and do the job more quickly since they already have a headstart from the diagnostics. Additionally, they should be able to complete the job in only one visit since they should already have the parts they need and not have to order them.
LG has a similar system too, and it makes sense for everyone. They save money on warranty repairs since their labor should be lower. Consumers save time on repairs for the same reason. They also get to drive repair work to the service company of their choice, which has benefits for them and has some pros and cons for the consumer.
"Connected" vacuums are already here, but they're called Roomba, not Dyson.
Although the connectivity with their app is a bit rubbish half the time!
But it's crippled by poor UI, only supporting Alexa, and an arbitrary limit of how many schedules you can set, etc.
To be fair, we're talking about a British car here. The bar is lower.
It wouldn't have been a Dyson from the ground up but it would have gotten their EV effort started at the lowest cost and they could have worked on their own in-house designs in the meantime.
Tesla started out with retrofitting their electric drive train into a Lotus Elise, that approach would have allowed Dyson to do what it does best.
Brand and design.
MEB is a platform, not a car. There's plenty to do beyond the platform. Ford will be making an MEB car. Here are some of Volkswagen's planned MEB cars so far:
- VW ID.3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPjvgXWA78E
- VW ID.4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dh00utug10
- VW Space Vizzion: https://jalopnik.com/the-volkswagen-space-vizzion-brings-the...
- VW Buzz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfKYr9sgxnw
- SEAT el-Born: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Evr55WN5XWo
- Skoda Enyaq: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLTBHGAv5aw
- Audi Q4 e-tron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiwevzHsCbU
MEB is flexible enough to work with many makes and models of car. MEB is exactly the sort of platform a company new to the car business would want to start with.
Thus they would get a start into electric vehicles without needing to invest in the entire production process. From there move to a Dyson branded car manufactured by one of their partners (designed by Dyson in collaboration with their partner) and then, if worthwhile, step up to manufacturing the entire car themselves.
This is rather disingenuous. The Model 3 was one of the most popular new cars sold in the UK last year, Tesla isn’t losing money on those sales. You can’t do a market analysis that ignores the main competitor.
If I had to hazard a guess, the real reason James Dyson pulled the plug is a) EV development and tooling for manufacturer is hugely expensive, and b) Dyson is private, and James Dyson doesn’t want to accept investment or inject his own capital into the effort.
Dyson's whole lifelong strategy is to disrupt the product and the price. When his vacuum cleaner came out the price was astronomically expensive. People were dumfounded - who would pay so much? But the product was better and people accepted the new price. It still seems high today but it was so successful it somewhat permanently moved the needle on what people think was reasonable.
He also tried this with: fans, washing machines, hair dryers, hand dryers. Some less successful, but an unexpectedly or apparently unreasonably high price is probably deliberately part of his approach.
Most likely because of batteries. He doesn’t have volume to build his own battery factories, but buying in small quantities makes his cars expensive. Now if car you are trying to sell is more expensive than Model X or Cybertruck, customers naturally would ask “Why?”
I think that's overstating things a bit, it's not even in the top ten?
NB They did do very well in April this year, but that's perhaps a bit of an unusual situation!
If you make profitable cars and you want to make profitable cars and trucks then you spend all your car profits building a truck factory. In cash-based accounting that looks like losing money right up until the point that it turns into making twice as much.
Tesla has not achieved profit on an EBIDTA basis, so it's not even remotely the same thing.
But remember folks, we love Elon. That's not evil capitalism or greed, it's Elon. He launches rockets! That's the model for model CEOs to follow. We need more Elons!
I think this is it. It's not that Dyson couldn't have made an EV. It's more that this would have been an iPhone or Tesla moment for the company where they would have had to bet the farm and that's something only two billionnaires so far have shown any ability to stomach. Pity, (armchair quarter-backing here) I think they could have done it, but it would have taken years off James Dyson himself to get the thing over the line.
1/ To go to work and back. Same route everyday. Not very long. Currently use a bicycle, but I’ve used mass transit for these very common in-out routes in the past.
2/ Small local journeys. I can’t collect 6kg of wheat from the local farm with a bike or a bus. Taxi is viable if I could get them to wait 20 minutes while I hang around the farm, or perhaps I could use two taxis to get out and back, which seems wasteful and the market for getting a cab from the country back to the city is challenging vs the city to countryside version.
3/ Long distance journeys. City to city is easy and pleasant with mass transit. Harder with a family and luggage, especially if the destination is not in a town or city. Personal vehicle works well here, and it’s getting more common to be doing long distance journeys from suburbia to non-city destinations, for me.
It felt like I could do without a personal vehicle for a long time. I bought a petrol car five years ago and finally live somewhere where I need it as of two years ago.
Now that we’re all potentially migrating away from big cities (a real trend I see, albeit anecdotally) I feel like my ideal fleet of personal vehicles would be:
a/ big lovely slow commute bicycle
b/ local BEV for cargo
c/ something else for long range
What would be fantastic would be to combine b and c. Something where I could carry a few kg of 18650s for a 10 mile errand range, and load it up with 1000kg of cells for a 400 mile round trip (or 500kg if my parents would foot the bill to recharge the long-range incarnation of my mythical modular BEV, something which feels socially unviable with anything other than trips to see close family.)
The tern gsd can carry 180 kg of cargo and has detachable batteries, so that at least gives you the option of bringing extra batteries for long range. Or haul people or wheat.
This needs robust offerings for both lower-end and higher-end models, but it's hard to say which should be initially focused on these days. My instinct is to go for the low end & maximize volume. There has to be a sweet spot between usefulness and affordability. As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, designing for modular upgrades would probably help.
If we ever get small "flow" batteries viable then the range problem can be solved cheaply, but even at the moment the 200 mile range is pretty good if you're prepared to stop slightly more often.
I wonder if perhaps some kind of "Pay £100 to have unlimited car use for the month" type scheme might work better?
The price point has to be low enough to look like a good deal compared to owning, insuring, and maintaining a cheap 2nd hand car for occasional use.
Maybe my £100 proposal needs a surcharge for driving outside the city boundaries to prevent roadtrip a.
Hybrids and plug-in hybrids have all but died though, now that they're no longer subsidized, and as it turns out they're not actually that good at carbon emissions.
I saw the headline about Dyson making electric vehicle batteries. I clicked the link. I was not surprised by what I saw. Yep, anybody can solder a bunch of panasonic cells together. I wonder if their packs will come in a futuristic looking plastic mold and cost 500% premium.
If you want a good vacuum, I'm quite happy with my Shark.
I could understand if they did it to keep prices low... But they aren't cheap products.
I could maybe understand it if they did it to keep things light or eco-friendly, but dysons structural plastic parts are thick and heavier than a metal equivilent part.
It’s a shame there seems to be nothing better in a similar form factor. Clearly possible at the price.
We went through two Hoover brand vacuums, same crap.
My folks have old the DC02 (bought in 1996 or so and still running) and I own the DC25 (11 years on and still works great).
“We never normally show our aborted projects, however, it felt right to give a glimpse of the Dyson car to show what the team achieved.”
I’ll believe it when we see it.
For now we're constructing 2000kg wagons to move 200kg of cargo and that just doesn't seem efficient.
No one wants EVs because of the same stupid question that gets asked and answered repeatedly, "this would be great, but what do I do when the battery runs out?"
This car thing apparently didn't work out.
$400 hair dryer?
$1,700 dyson roomba competitor?
I guess every brand has its fans but this is one I just don't get. I'll never purchase another dyson product after being bamboozled with that damn vacuum.
You can see this "idea" deployed in the Tesla model 3.
This is a clownish, absurd idea that, were it not for actual, extant production examples would be mistaken for parody ... they would be assumed to be in jest.
If you are a designer and you think there is any positive value in this design, find a new job: you are a clown.
I'll say that those things (speed, temps, trip odometer) rarely seem driver-critical to me.
* When driving, you typically norm your speed relative to those around you, right? You can easily glance over and see the speedometer if you need to if you're alone on the road and worried about speeding (or you could just flick the right-hand control stalk down and let the cruise control engage).
* What temperature is driver-critical in a BEV? If we're talking about internal air temp, if you're hot, make it cooler; if you're cool, make it hotter. Who cares what the actual number is?
* Trip odometer seems even further from driver-critical. It's visible with a swipe from the big screen, but I've only checked it once in 18 months of owning the car; in fact, I've never even reset it. I guess it still exists for a reason (when young, we used to use them as a backup to an inaccurate gas gauge in an old Volvo, but now you have much more accurate info on-screen.
So you're driving down 6th ave away from the Madison Square Garden sign promoting the Knicks? There's not going to be a double yellow line because it's a one way street. Perfectly smooth road in Manhattan? Nope.
Here's what the area really looks like: https://email@example.com,-73.9922756,3a,75y,3...
Credit to whomever thought adding "Modells" would make it look more locally authentic though.
I do wish they could contract out some design or other manufacturers would consult with them. Reducing distraction with physical buttons on a steering wheel is so much more thoughtful than tossing in a touchscreen and pushing everything to software (I realize cars have some controls on the steering wheel, but it's not enough).
Every time I see a modern car I'm kind of shocked by how distracting the interior is. At least voice interfaces have improved somewhat.
Not to mention the incredibly useless hand dryers in half of UK pubs.
Dyson is the perfect example of how if you strike the right(???) note with your marketing you can sell any crap at a premium price.
I even took one on Blue Peter and demonstrated it to Anthea Turner!
(embedded video @ 1:48)
Anthea: What do the manufacturers think of it?
James: Well they quite like it, but they're not doing anything about it.
Anthea: Are steps being taken to do anything about it?
James: Well no unfortunately we need to pass some laws so that people are forced to fit it.
It's not a good looking car, but so few are.
There are many aspects here copied from Tesla or coincidentally the same, although he conveniently leaves out mentioning that fact at any opportunity. For example the lowering of the car at speed... copied from Model S.
Many cars have adaptive suspension. It's not unique to Tesla.
Audi has taken the next step and has implemented predictive suspension:
It’s always interesting to me that absence of knowledge of something is taken as a basis for believing that the thing is not happening.
Lowering not invented by Tesla, fair point. It seems I do the same thing too.
That looks like science
2). Dyson is proven and could raise capital if they needed to without a marketable proof of concept. They could have IPO'd a sub and raised money. Unlike when Tesla started, electric cars are now proven to work - maybe not in a profitable business model yet, but they are proven to work. They don't need to show off a high end sports car to prove this.
An Apple EV would only charge from Certified Apple electricity. Hell, Jobs would have required an Apple ICE to only accept fuel from an Apple gas station.