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Dyson abandons electric car project

The expensive and mysterious saga comes to a close

James Dyson, the British inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, on Thursday canceled his ambitious project to build an electric car, the centerpiece of a $3.1 billion investment in new technology.

“The Dyson Automotive team has developed a fantastic car; they have been ingenious in their approach while remaining faithful to our philosophies,” Dyson said in an email to staff.

“However, though we have tried very hard throughout the development process, we simply can no longer see a way to make it commercially viable.”

According to a report from The Verge, the email continued, saying the company is looking to find other positions within the company "for as many of the team as possible and we have sufficient vacancies to absorb most of the people into our Home business." Dyson added, "This is not a product failure, or a failure of the team, for whom this news will be hard to hear and digest. Their achievements have been immense – given the enormity and complexity of the project."

Patents showing a general design of the planned EV uncovered earlier this year suggested a high-riding wagon/crossover. Plans were to build the car in Singapore, where James Dyson had purchased the island city-state's most expensive penthouse for himself, in order to be close to production operations. 

Dyson's plans to build an electric car first came to light in 2016 via government documents. Just prior to that, Dyson had acquired Sakti3, which worked on solid-state battery technology. In 2017, we learned that Tesla knew of Dyson's EV plans from a former employee two years prior to its official announcement in September of 2017.

Now it appears the expensive and mysterious Dyson electric car saga has come to a close. We can't say we're surprised, but we'll keep an ear to the ground, just in case.

This article contains reporting from Reuters.

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