Dyson has snubbed the UK and plans to build its new electric car in Singapore, according to media reports citing a memo to staff by the privately-owned company’s chief executive, Jim Rowan.
The Guardian newspaper’s website reported that the manufacturer chose Singapore because of its proximity to “high-growth markets” in Asia.
It said the Singapore plant will be completed in 2020, with the car to be launched in 2021 as the firm - founded by inventor James Dyson - steps up plans to take on big US rivals such as Elon Musk's electric carmaker Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA).
Dyson already manufactures electric motors for its other products, such as vacuum cleaners and fans, in Singapore, where it employs 1,100 staff, the Guardian report said, with staff numbers there to double after it completes the new facility.
The firm is developing the electric car at its research facilities in Wiltshire, where it recently opened a test track and unveiled plans to expand its operations to accommodate another 2,000 employees.
However, in the memo to staff, the newspaper quoted Rowan as saying the decision to choose Singapore was “complex, based on supply chains, access to markets, and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions”.
Rowan also highlighted the availability of engineering talent in Singapore, in spite of its “comparatively high-cost base”, the Guardian website added.
Asia focus not a surprise
Dr Jonathan Owens, Lecturer in Operations Management at the University of Salford Business School, commented: “While it is disappointing that Sir James Dyson has made the announcement that his company will set up production for their first Electric Vehicles (EV) in Singapore, in many ways it is not surprising.
“Dyson sees Singapore as a base closer to their target market; Asia Pacific (APAC). They do not cite Brexit as the reason to leave, but being able to secure the talent required to produce their new EV and shorter and established supply chains.”
He added: “The UK’s biggest barrier to EV growth is still access to public charge points with uptake and roll out still not hitting significant numbers.
“In contrast, the Asian market is seeing huge growth in the usage of EV’s. The higher adoption rates of smart mobility services, government regulations as well as increasing fuel prices are supporting the growth of EV’s in this region.”
Owens concluded: “The biggest supporter to this rapid growth is the investment of charge point infrastructure. China is aiming to install an extra 500,000 public EV charging stations by 2020.
“Others, such as India, Thailand, and Singapore, have also announced investment plans to develop EV charging infrastructure, leaving the UK trailing in their wake.”
-- Adds Salford Business School comment --