Andy Palmer Says Dyson’s Electric Car Goals Aren’t Achievable



2020? Yeah, good luck with that, Dyson. 

Andy Palmer has publicly poo-pooed the Dyson dream of launching an electric vehicle in 2020. Big deal, you might be thinking to yourself. what does this guy even know about building electric cars? Well, Palmer, now the CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda, which is celebrating its 105th birthday, knows quite a bit about the topic. Before he took the top job at the Gaydon, UK-based sportscar maker, he was Chief Planning Officer and Executive Vice President of Nissan, where he was responsible for the team that created the LEAF.

Aston Martin Lagonda CEO Andy Palmer

Need more bona fides? Consider, then, that during his tenure Aston Martin Consulting has been involved with the efforts of several other companies attempting to build electric vehicles. This includes the less-than-successful (so far) program from Faraday Future. In all, Palmer says he’s been in discussions with ten different outfits, and there is a common thread of underestimation of the Herculean task of making a new car that runs through them.

Every single one has underestimated the difficulty of engineering a car to a budget and to an aggressive timescale. Some of them will get there, but always over budget and late.

So, when he says of Dyson’s 2020 assertions, “I wish him the best of luck, but on the numbers that have been reported, I know you won’t do it for that money, and you won’t do it in that timescale. At least, I know that I couldn’t,” we feel those are words you can probably take to the bank.

For its part, Aston Martin doesn’t currently have an electric model of its own, but it will soon. The Rapide is said to be ditching its V12 this year and will be electric from the 2019 model year onwards. Though that run will be limited to 155 units, the brand’s commitment to electrification can be seen in its intention to sell only hybrids and electrics by 2030.

Source: Autocar

Categories: Aston Martin, General

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31 Comments on "Andy Palmer Says Dyson’s Electric Car Goals Aren’t Achievable"

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“always over budget and late”

Describes Tesla and all the new comers, including Dyson, but I’m not sure if that’s true with most (all?) traditional carmakers.

Late and over budget probably describes 98% of disruptive tech endeavors but it really isn’t much of an indicator of success or failure. Tesla being late on ramp up of the TM3 is May actually be a blessing. The Seeking Alpha crowd cautioned the rapid ramp would cost Tesla much more to fix flaws afterwards and could very well doom Tesla. The reality is being six months late when you are years ( or decades in the case of AML) ahead of the competition is hardly a death knell.

I don’t think GM went through such pains in bringing out the Bolt. They took it slow starting with SparkEV. I doubt they ran way over budget or had major delays.

As for Tesla being ahead, true to some degree, but if GM really wanted to dominate, they probably could’ve done it lot more efficiently. What’s saving newcomers is that management in legacy car companies are morons. Certainly, GM engineering is far more capable than any other.

Indeed. I mean who can forget engineering master strokes like their choice of ignition switch…

Glad you mentioned that: Just yesterday GM got a $1 billion judgement thrown out as ‘non-collectible’.

As I keep saying, companies like Chrysler’s (FCA) Marchione would just say any FOREIGN keys on the keyring would ‘hold them harmless’ since they have no control over the torque on the ignition switch by an unrelated ringfull of keys by the customer.

I don’t know how many dozens of times this needs saying, but if you used the company supplied keys on the ring ONLY, then:


For reasons I don’t understand, only other automakers would have defended their actions at this level.

2030? Really? Well if we are talking distant future then my company BigShow Automotive will sell only nuclear fusion powered cars by the year 2069 ?

Is that (as Ed Sullivan would say) “A REALY Big Show”?

That BS Automotive “Nuclear Fusion Car” sounds great! Where do I send my deposit, so I can get on the preorder wait list??

They’re WAY BEHIND the times….. Noted Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was designing buildings with Nuclear Powered Elevators, and some companies were marketing ‘future’ Nuclear Powered Vacuum Cleaners.

Maybe this is where Dysan lost their chance.

The brand’s commitment to electrification can be seen in its intention to sell only hybrids and electrics by 2030.

2030? Did you intentionally leave out the sarc tag?

That does show the brand’s commitment – it shows that its commitment is crap.

I think Tesla exploited a rare and historic window of opportunity almost 10 years ago now to wrestle itself in the highly competitive carmarket: oil prices spiked, governments were desperate to reduce oil dependency, incumbents were busy saving themselves from bankruptcy, the industry had little interest in doing EVs. This afforded Tesla an opportunity to leap ahead in the EV game with governments glad to support while staying under the radar of an industry that figured it would fail anyway.

That window of opportunity has long since closed: though late to respond to Tesla all major carmakers have ambitious plug-in programs now leaving little room for newcomers to find a niche.

Yes, I think a lot of these newcomers like Dyson think building EVs is just like making their vacuum cleaners, simply because its now an electric appliance. But in reality, you will have to build a big/complex car. There’s a lot more to building a car than a vacuum cleaner; not to mention all of the regulations cars must meet.

I hope they make it, but they have a long/expensive road ahead.

Those safety standards are a killer. I could build a simple car design that will drive me around for a few thousand dollars (maybe less than a thousand) , but it would not be consider safe by any real standard out there.

Just the crash tests require you to crash and destroy a large number of built cars to get the certificates.

Not to mention designing a product that can withstand 120 degree summers and -20 degree snowy winters, and also last 10 years. And they also need to build a network of service stations/technicians/parts to take care of all their customers.

Looking at history, everyone that has bet against Dyson lost so let’s wait and see.

I didn’t realize there was a history of people betting against Dyson. Did people think they couldn’t make a vacuum cleaner?

I, also, have failed to notice any widespread meme of people betting on Dyson to fail. What’s the “short” investor interest in Dyson?

Making consumer grade small appliances isn’t particularly difficult. Contrariwise, a startup entering the very competitive new car market has a much, much more difficult road ahead, as Tesla’s founders learned the hard way!

If Dyson really does try to enter the new EV car market, will they be any more successful than CODA or Th!nk or Faraday Future?

Don’t forget ZENN/EEStor!!!! I “heard” they will be coming out by the end of 3rd quarter with a car that charges itself by absorbing the energy from the atmosphere. Or is that next year, it is coming out?

I hope they prove him wrong, although it’s kind of impossible since he technically just claims he couldn’t do it himself…

What was GMs budget and timeframe in case of the Bolt..? IDK, but my impression is certainly that this is the so far cheapest and fastest product development story. Interestingly, it was achieved by the polar opposite strategy of Tesla – outsourcing “as much as possible” (well, not quite, they could have got Magna to manufacture it or something).

Modern car companies, like modern companies in many industries, are more about marketing and generic business skills that have little to do with the engineering of the products. It’s one of the depressing facts of the modern world that being willing and able to manipulate and stretch the rules are more likely to bring success than honest, competent engineering. At least that’s how I view it.

GM was an established automaker that outsourced the electric powertrain to LG and wanted to manufacture ~25k BEVs the first year.

That does not describe Dyson in any way.

Thank you!

I find it amazing how many people here are comparing Dyson to GM. As you say, GM has much experience building street-legal passenger cars; Dyson has zero. The difference is pretty, um, stark. 🙂

For an established auto maker, it takes on average about five years to design a completely new model and put it into production. For a startup auto maker, it will take longer.

Design: “2012-2015″…

On a side note, if you recall, the Bolt EV was intended to be a Sonic EV and ultimately evolved onto a new platform so its possible it could have had faster development if the original project were greenlighted from the start as a brand new project…

The Bolt project was first started in March 2013. Sonic/Encore-based mules built to test basic concept 2013-2014. Formal concept vehicle revealed Jan. 2015. Pre-production prototypes built and field-tested in 2015. Production-intent vehicles revealed Jan 2016 with test drive event by the press. Retail production began Nov. 1 2016.

3.5 years from initial idea to true retail production is fast-tracking in the car business for any product, much less leading-edge EV on a brand new platform. But this was not extraordinary for GM’s engineers. They developed the even-more-challenging EREV Volt in a similar time. Twice now GM has given the industry a lesson on how to efficiently develop and produce a radical new product.

How to sell it???….mmm…OK, GM still has some work to do in that corner.

This big car Company are slow
I Think a new car Company like Dyson can fix it, but it will just be another expensive car, nothing for me

One does not have to be either a genius or an automotive industry expert to see that Dyson’s claims to be able to build compelling EVs just because it knows how to build electric motors for small appliances, is at best wishful thinking almost on the level of Faraday Future delusion, and at worst it’s an indication that Dyson is trying to pull off a scam.

Anyone who actually thinks Dyson has even the remotest chance of putting an EV into mass production by 2020 should read about the early history of Tesla Motors, and disabuse themselves of that notion:

* * * * *

“Aston Martin doesn’t currently have an electric model of its own, but it will soon. …the brand’s commitment to electrification can be seen in its intention to sell only hybrids and electrics by 2030.”

The question is whether Aston Martin will still be in business in 2030. By that time, several gasmobile makers will have failed, as the EV revolution ramps up. I could be wrong, but I think those most likely to fail are the small auto makers which have not yet started making and selling any EVs at all. Companies like, hmmm… Aston Martin.

the fact that palmer was behind the leaf, should indicate that Dyson stands a good chance of finishing.
Palmer, like the leaf, is an idiot.

Leaf is idiot?
I don’t know how you can rate the IQ of any car, and I would find pretty idiotic to try to do so.

I guess it depends how much money you have to throw at the problem. $200mil? No chance. $5bil? No problem. So how much are Dyson budgeting for their EV?
Nissan Leaf entered the market on high hopes but the market wasn’t ready and their design was not generally pleasing. We now know what works (Tesla) so can easily copy cat that and the market is now much more ready for EV’s.
Biggest hurdle will be establishing service centres and manufacturing capacity, all the rest should be relatively easy, even if it needs to be outsourced.

Apple+Mazda+Dyson=Dream EV

I know all you guys, including editorially here, are all enthralled with Mr. Andrew Palmer.

I figured this guy out when he said the solution to the early Leaf’s battery range problem of ‘losing bars’ was:


Absolutely Brilliant.

I have no clue whether Dyson could make a good car (I’m underwhelmed by their Hooverers) – but Palmer ain’t the best critic.