Dyson to produce an electric car by 2020

Jimi Beckwith, reporting for Autocar:

"Dyson has confirmed plans for an all-electric car that will enter production in Britain by 2020 and has received support from the UK Government.

The car will be funded by £2 billion from Dyson and is currently under development at Dyson's Wiltshire headquarters by a team of 400 people. 

Dyson is keeping specific details, such as performance, range and production numbers, secret but it will not be a mass-market car akin to the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf; instead, it will be aimed at a more tech-oriented market. This suggests that it might be a rival to the Tesla Model S in terms of market position."

It's great to have more competition in the electric car space, as it pushes everyone to innovate that much more, and so Dyson's announcement is very welcome.

I think that their decision to apparently focus on a more 'tech-oriented' (premium?) market is a good one. Dyson is a brand renowned for its innovative household appliances, and developing a premium vehicle is in line with their current brand positioning.

I can see Dyson innovating in the electric car space in two key ways: technology and design. It wouldn't be surprising to see a Dyson electric vehicle powered by their digital motor technology, currently used for their vacuum cleaners, and using a HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning) system incorporating their Air Multiplier bladeless fan technology.

What is more interesting to speculate about is how Dyson's design will translate to a car. Dyson is one of the few companies today with a unique, but consistent, design language across products that have entirely different purposes. The company is a strong proponent of the 'design is how it works' approach, and is notable for its use of bright colour accents to visually highlight key parts of its products. It will be fascinating to see how this approach will apply to the exterior and interior design of its vehicle. Perhaps important controls could be colour coded according to their function? Autocar's subsequent interview with Sir James Dyson is very illuminating in this regard.

Saudi Arabia to allow women to drive

Al Jazeera:

"In a reversal of a longstanding rule, Saudi Arabia has announced that it will now allow women to drive.

In a royal decree signed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the order said it will be effective immediately but the rollout will take months, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Tuesday.

A high-level committee of ministers has been set up to examine the arrangements for the enforcement of the order."

Finally.

Victoria Police to use BMW 5-Series as highway patrol car

From the BMW press release:

"To ensure maximum cost effectiveness, the turbocharged, six-cylinder diesel powered BMW 530d was selected. It will be presented to Victoria Police in an entry-level specification, eschewing some of the higher-end luxuries found on the regular production model in favour of a factory-fitted ‘police pack’ which prepares the vehicle for heavy-duty operations. Similarly-equipped BMW 5 Series vehicles have long been part of European police forces, displaying a high level of technology with ample performance in emergency situations.

The first BMW 530d Victoria Police Highway Patrol vehicles are expected to be operational by early-2018."

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Overall, I think this is a great alternative to the end-of-life Australian Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore. The civilian 530d has a stated fuel economy of 4.7L/100km and acceleration of 5.7 seconds from 0-100 km/h, which is equivalent to the average performance car today, and should be adequate for high-speed police chases. Whilst the fuel economy figure clearly won't be matched by 530d's undertaking highway patrol duties, it will nevertheless be substantially better than its Ford and Holden predecessors.

I wonder, however, what the maintenance and parts replacement costs for these vehicles will be. I wouldn't be surprised if Victoria Police has reached a special agreement for a discount given how expensive these costs normally are, compared to the Commodore and Falcon.

I would also suspect that the new Kia Stinger will give the 5-Series strong competition for use as a police vehicle given its lower cost, similar size and performance, and Kia's eagerness for the Stinger to be used as a police vehicle.