BILLIONAIRE Sir James Dyson is one of Britain’s most successful inventors.
After revolutionising the vacuum cleaning industry, the Brit businessman has invested £2billion into an electric car project.
Who is James Dyson and what is his net worth?
Born in Norfolk in 1947, Sir James Dyson is worth a whopping £7.8billion, according to the 2017 Sunday Times Rich List.
After studying at art school, Dyson developed his best known product – the bagless cleaner.
The inventor had grown frustrated at the loss of suction of his household vacuum when it sucked up dirt.
He developed the “G-Force” cleaner in 1983 using cyclonic separation technology already used in saw mills.
But the product was not an instant success in the UK as major manufacturers would not buy it because they were worried it would be kill the lucrative cleaner bag market.
The disposable bag market was worth £100million a year in Britain at the time.
As a result, Dyson took his product to Japan – then the world’s second biggest economy – and sold it through catelogies.
The pink-coloured G-Force, which retailed at around £2,000, was a success in the Asian country and won the International Design Fair in Japan in 1991.
Dyson was able to secure a lucrative patent for his vacuum technology in the mid-80s.
By the 1990s, the businessman was able to set up his own manufacturing company in the UK putting him in direct competition with the major brands who had rejected the G-Force.
And thanks to his superior product, and a clever TV advert which had the slogan “say goodbye to the bag”, Dyson changed the cleaning industry forever.
His Dyson Dual Cyclone product became the UK’s fastest ever selling vacuum cleaner.
In 2002, he launched his innovative cleaners in the United States which became an instant hit.
One of the secrets behind Dyson’s success is his ability to spot a flaw in an existing product and improve it.
Other inventions include the Dyson “Airblade”, which revolutionised hand dryers, and a bladeless fan named the “Air Multiplier.”
Dyson became Sir James when he was knighted in 2007.
When will the Dyson electric car be available?
Dyson has announced plans to build electric cars by 2020.
The all-new model is being developed by 400 staff at its HQ in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.
Further work will take place at a nearby former RAF base with staff moving in next February.
A factory has yet to be chosen but the battery-powered car will be on sale after 2020.
Company founder Sir James told staff in an e-mail: “Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential.”
Dyson has had an ambition to develop an electric car since 1998 but was rejected by the industry.
He also pursued car makers to fit cyclone exhausts to cut emissions in the 90s but was met with resistance.
Half of the £2bn investment will be spent on the car with the other half developing the battery.
Battery range has yet to be announced while the price is still under wraps.
However, it’s unlikely to be cheap with Sir James confirming it will be aimed at the “tech end” of the market rather than a mass produced model like the Nissan Leaf or Renault Zoe.
The car will look “radical and different” according to Sir James and would feature some self-driving technology.
It’s also expected to use next-gen solid state battery technology rather than lithium ion.
Solid state is believed to be safer – and can be charged quicker. Toyota plans to have this tech on sale by 2020, too.
Dyson’s ambitious plans positions itself against global manufacturing giants who are all chasing electric domination.
Tesla, Nissan, Renault, Volvo and BMW all have popular models on sale with Jaguar, Mercedes, VW and Porsche plotting ambitious plug-in futures.
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