Vacuuming Up the Competition

Industrial designer James Dyson throws his hat into the electric car ring

Rolling the Dys

The famous vacuum designer is turning his attention to cars.Dyson

British industrial designer James Dyson made a fortune turning a pedestrian household appliance into a fashion item for suburban strivers. Box-store shoppers recognize his bagless vacuum cleaner by that future-sexy, ultra-maneuverable yellow orb that stands in for wheels. Now, according to the UK's Daily Mail Dyson is turning his attention from closet to garage: his firm is reportedly developing an electric car.

The engineering team is reportedly at work on a lightweight electric motor that can propel a family vehicle at highway speeds. Dyson foresees using a combined system that includes a battery pack, an electric-motor similar to those in his vacuum cleaners and hand dryers, and solar panels to be the best solution for a daily, emissions-free driver. The Daily Mail reports Dyson will likely work with an existing carmaker like Honda rather than market his own vehicle. But considering his consumer-product cred, such a pairup may not be the best idea.
A recent study from Auto Futures Group/TechnoMetrica discovered that, if gas were $6.00 a gallon, many buyers would consider cars built by non-automotive companies: 68 percent would consider a car from General Electric, 43 would consider a car from Dell, and 34 would consider a car from Google.

Dyson has already convinced American consumers to spend $500 on a bagless vacuum (and once convinced tech-hungry Japanese to buy a model that cost $2,000); maybe he should be the one marketing $30,000 electric cars.