UK Government recoups almost £8million from Dyson’s abandoned electric car project
- Grant of £7.8m had been given to Dyson by the UK Government in 2016
- Fund was part of National Infrastructure Delivery Plan to boost UK infrastructure
- Project could have brought an engineering and employment boom to the firm’s home town of Wiltshire
- Dyson confirmed the electric car plans had been scrapped in October
- Sir James Dyson said the plug-in vehicle would ‘not be commercially viable’
A grant provided to Dyson has been repaid to the government after the vacuum cleaner manufacturer terminated its plans to build an electric car, it has emerged.
The £7.8million grant was handed to the British manufacturer in 2016 as the prospect of developing and building a plug-in passenger car was expected to bring an engineering and employment boom to the firm’s home town of Wiltshire.
However, with the electric vehicle project officially scrapped in October 2019, the grant has been recouped by the government.
Ditched: Dyson confirmed in October 2019 that it had pulled its plans to release an electric passenger car range, despite revealing patents for a crossover vehicle earlier that year
The grant had been allocated to Dyson as part of the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan – a £100 billion investment fund to boost the nation’s infrastructure between 2016 and 2021.
The brand had originally been allocated up to £17.5 million, though this was later reduced to £7.8 million.
At the time the funding was allocated, the Government said it hoped Dyson’s ambitious bid to enter the automotive market would ‘secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering’.
Sir James Dyson – a prominent Brexit supporter – sparked controversy in 2018 when he revealed that production of the electric cars, which was part of a £2.5 billion project, would be relocated to Singapore, along with the firm’s headquarters.
Dyson’s car project received funding from the UK Government as it was believed new R&D headquarters at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire would boost jobs in the town
However, in October he confirmed the company had scrapped its bold plan to make a Tesla-rivalling electric car as it would not be commercially viable.
The famous British inventor claimed at the time that his engineers had developed a ‘fantastic electric car’, but that it would not be able to make money.
‘Dyson will continue its £2.5 billion investment programme into new technology and grow the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology,’ he said in a statement last year.
Following the announcement of the vehicle project being abandoned, Dyson stated the grant provided by the government could still be used to fund R&D and education departments as it looked to develop solid state battery technology.
Sir James Dyson – a prominent advocate for Brexit – said his company had scrapped its bold plan to make a Tesla-rivalling electric car as it would not be commercially viable
This wasn’t to be, as – following conversations with the Department for Business – a decision was made to repay the amount in full.
It is believed that Dyson – which has received no other grants for the development of its electric cars – was entitled to keep some of the money under the terms of the grant, but decided to pay it back in its entirety, reports say.
A spokesman for the company told The Telegraph: ‘When our automotive project closed, we contacted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and repaid the money.’
What we knew about the Dyson electric car before plans were ditched…
The design showed a sloping windscreen, a low roof height and plenty of space in the floor for batteries to be installed
No pictures of Dyson’s electric car prototypes had been seen and the vehicle’s details remain a closely guarded secret, even after the plans were scrapped.
The patents of the first model planned showed a seven-seat crossover vehicle with plenty of ground clearance, a sleek bonnet and slab-backed rear end.
The drawings showed a space under the cabin floor, presumably to be filled with the batteries used to power the electrified vehicle.
Descriptions said it would be between 1.6 and 1.8 metres high and 4.7 metres to 5 metres long – around the same dimensions as the current Range Rover.
The patents showed a crossover vehicle with a raised platform and massive wheels
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