The purpose-built two-storey plant is part of a £2.5bn investment in the electric car project, with prototypes set to be produced next year ahead of the car's 2021 launch. The announcement follows the unveiling of its proving ground at Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire, which includes test tracks, motorway-like surfaces, high-speed strips and an off-road course.
The decision to base the plant in Singapore is partly influenced by Dyson already having a strong foothold there, employing 1100 people at a facility that designs and builds the high-speed digital motors used in the firm's vacuum cleaners and hand dryers.
In a letter to Dyson employees, Rowan said: "Singapore also offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce. Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high-quality technology-loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle."
Dyson initially made its vacuum cleaners and washing machines in Wiltshire but transferred production to Malaysia in 2002 and, in 2004, opened a manufacturing plant in the country in a joint venture with a Singapore-based investment group. In 2013, Dyson opened its digital motor plant in Tuas, Singapore, which has since been significantly expanded. Having a supply network in the region will give it a head start in ramping up production for its first electric car.
Dyson electric car - our vision of what it will be like
Dyson's long-term automotive plans suggest a diverse range of electric cars will eventually be produced. We already know there will be a three-car line-up, with an SUV almost a certainty, on top of the high-end model already mooted. A sports car will not be part of the range, but a top speed of more than 100mph for one or more models is suggested.
With £85m already spent on restoring two hangars at Hullavington, Dyson's investment in the site will reach £200m once work is completed, with a further £550m of investment planned once the facility is up and running. Handling, rural and off-road courses are confirmed, as is a skid pan and a high-speed runway for testing at more than 100mph.
Rowan said: "Our growing automotive team is now working from Dyson’s state-of-the-art hangars at Hullavington Airfield. It will quickly become a world-class vehicle-testing campus, where we anticipate investing £550m, creating even more high-skilled jobs for Britain.”
Three more buildings will be opened at the site in the next few months, the company revealed, although its automotive employees have already moved to the renovated H86 hangar at the site.
The company also recently trademarked the terminology ‘Digital Motor’ for automotive use. Previously used only on its household products, the Digital Motor moniker describes a brushless permanent-magnet synchronous motor – the same type found in many electric vehicles currently on the market.
The trademark, filed recently for the European market, applies to both cars and non-road-going machines, although its use in an automotive context is a first for the company. Dyson also wants to grow its EV programme workforce by 300 people in a bid to ramp up the pace of development before the 2021 vehicle reaches the market.