PLASTIC VACUUM CLEANER ENTHUSIAST Sir James Dyson is to invest £116m on a vehicle testing facility in Wiltshire where the company's forthcoming electric cars will be put through their paces.
Based on the site of a former World War Two air field in Wiltshire, the facility will include a ten-mile test track where the new vehicles, scheduled for launch in 2020, will get their first run-out.
The plans were revealed in a planning application filed today.
"We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project, strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organisation," said Dyson founder Sir James.
The company already has a 400-strong team of engineers working on the car project in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. However, the new investment will see the company build a complex that can accommodate more than 2,000 staff, according to Reuters.
If the planning application is successful, it will take Dyson's total investment so far in electric car development to at least £200 million, although Sir James has committed some £2.5 billion in total to the project.
The investment indicates that development is about to move up a notch at the company, potentially enabling Dyson to launch its first electric vehicle before Apple, which is also said to be planning a move into the same market.
Apple, though, has been even more coy about its plans than Dyson.
Dyson revealed in 2017 that it had been working on electric vehicle technology for a number of years, and that it planned to launch its first product in 2020.
Earlier this year, Sir James revealed that he was planning to launch at least three vehicles and, like his vacuum cleaners, admitted that they probably wouldn't be cheap. It's not yet clear where they will be manufactured.
Dyson, who nearly went bankrupt before launching the DC-01 vacuum cleaner in 1993 is now said to have a personal fortune of around £3 billion, give or take a few quid, largely related to the value of his eponymously named company. µ
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