British firm Dyson who has hitherto been famous for its range of vacuum cleaners has recently taken over a World War II hangar. The company is busy converting it into its base of operations with test tracks, technology centre as well as a production line.
Dyson announced its plans to produce an electric vehicle in September 2017. Due to its expertise in designing electric motors, fans, and batteries, the British firm reckons it has the necessary know-how to build an EV. To that end, it has poured in $260 million in a World War II air hangar for conversion in its headquarters.
The hangar is located in Hullavington, Wiltshire, and will house Dyson’s new headquarters. The company will convert it into its base of development, testing, and operations. The centre will house Dyson’s expanding automotive development team. Plans are being put into place for the construction of a test track where all of the company’s automotive products will be put through their paces. The facility is being redesigned by Stirling Prize-winning architect Chris Wilkinson and aims to convert the old hangars into state-of-the-art engineering centres.
The two hangars already on the airfield will be restored and converted from the inside, with plans already in place to construct three more buildings over the next few months. Close to 400 of Dyson’s staff is already working at the Hullavington facility. After the expansion, the technology centre will be able to host 2,000 staff comfortably, complete with conveniences like a cafe and recreational spaces.
The test track will be more than 16km long and will facilitate verification and development of vehicle technologies. Dyson is preparing the test track with different specialised sections to test handling, maneuverability, maximum speed, off-road ability, and gradients to see how the EVs would handle slopes.
“Our growing automotive team is now working from Dyson’s state-of-the-art hangars at Hullavington Airfield,” said Dyson CEO Jim Rowan. “It will quickly become a world-class vehicle testing campus where we hope to invest $260 million, creating more high-skilled jobs for Britain. We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organization.”
Dyson intends to put up its first electric car on the road by 2020. The only hurdle left is the government’s approval of the expansion plan. The amount of money poured into the EV project proves that this is not just a side project for Dyson. The company has a long-term plan in place and is willing to spend lavishly to make sure the plan is fruitful.
Image: Auto Express