What a tease

Dyson shelved its Tesla-killer. Why is it showing it off now?

What could've been a Tesla troubler will now have to settle for being the most expensive car never made.

Last month, James Dyson, the head of the company that carries his name and is best known for its vacuum cleaners, hairdryers, and Airblade hand dryer, explained in an interview with The Times of London why the company pulled the plug on its £500 million effort to build an electric vehicle to rival the likes of Tesla and Rivian. That interview offered only a small peek at the abandoned project. Now Dyson itself has pulled back the curtain and gone into more detail about a car that will go down in history, even if it never goes down anyone's driveway.

EVs are expensive — The short answer as to why the Dyson Battery Electric Vehicle failed to come to fruition is the price. Dyson argues that conventional carmakers lose money on electric cars, but that it doesn't matter because those losses can be "offset against selling traditional vehicles on which they make a good profit." It says this, combined with it being a "non-automotive company" and not using off-the-shelf components meant it eventually realized that, unlike Tesla, it would never be able to sell its car at a profit.

That's a shame because, as the video above and those below show, Dyson's Range Rover-like effort was striking, to say the least.

A giant on wheels — Dyson's electric SUV, built on a platform the company planned to use for other body styles in the future, is over 16 feet long, with enormous wheels at each corner that provided lower rolling resistance and a smoother ride on bad surfaces, along with substantial ground clearance.

The company is very light on the specifics of things like battery capacity, power output, 0-60 mph times, or any of the other figures auto fans tend to enjoy pouring over, but then, if you spent half a billion Pound Sterling on something, you might keep some of its secrets to yourself, too.

No love lost for armchairs — According to Dyson, putting each wheel "at the extremities of the four corners" allowed it to have the seven-seater capacity of a long-wheelbase SUV "without the disadvantage of the massive external body." James Dyson also says he hates the "1930's armchair look that car seats typically have" and bemoans their lack of "proper lumbar support," which explains why Dyson's EV went for an admittedly attractive, high-end office-chair look.

Not a complete waste — Despite the intensive capital outlay, the hiring of "hundreds of engineers, scientists and designers," and the acquisition of a wartime airfield to that will now be home to Dyson's robotics, environmental care, and lighting teams, James Dyson says he has no regrets about having tried his hand at electric vehicles. But then, he would say that, wouldn't he? At least the original owners of the farmland that got converted first into a military facility and then the home of a technological pipedream got paid a contemporary market-related rate for their property. Every cloud, eh?