Dyson is doubling down on its plans for an electric vehicle, with a £200-million (US$260-million) redevelopment of a World War 2 hangar for use as a technology facility in the UK. The new center will house hundreds of members of its burgeoning automotive team, with plans to construct miles of dedicated test track to put their creations through their paces.
Best known for its excellent vacuum cleaners, Dyson announced its plans to develop an electric vehicle in September last year. It is looking to put its expertise in designing powerful motors, fans and batteries to use building zero emissions vehicles, with 2020 flagged as the year its first electric car will roll off the production line.
The company has set up a base for its EV operations at the Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire, UK, and has now announced plans for a massive overhaul of the premises. The redevelopment was designed by Stirling Prize-winning architect Chris Wilkinson and involved the conversion of the old hangars into a state-of-the-art engineering hub.
That began with a restoration of two existing hangars on site, with three more buildings slated for construction over the next few months. Some 400 automotive staffers are already at work in the facility, though the expansion will provide enough space for more than 2,000, along with a cafe and recreational spaces.
The plans also describe more than 10 miles (16 km) of dedicated testing track to verify and develop the vehicle technologies. This would include different specialized sections for testing handling, maneuverability, maximum speed, off road ability, and hilly sections to see how the cars handle slopes.
"Our growing automotive team is now working from Dyson's state-of-the-art hangars at Hullavington Airfield," says Jim Rowan, Dyson, CEO. "It will quickly become a world-class vehicle testing campus where we hope to invest £200m, 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."
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