NO AUTOMAKER LIKES hearing someone refer to one of its vehicles as an “appliance.” In an industry that trades on passion and excitement, reducing a car to the equivalent of a toaster or microwave—utilitarian, mundane—feels like failure.
But the auto industry might need a new insult if the man who made a fortune building some of the world’s coolest appliances pulls off his plan to create an electric car. British inventor Sir James Dyson announced this week that his company will spend more than $2.7 billion to build a swoon-worthy, zero-emissions vehicle by 2020.
Details on the Dyson car are somewhere between limited and nonexistent. (“Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential,” Sir James wrote in an email to staff.)