British technology company Dyson – best known for the design and manufacture of household appliances such as vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and bladeless fans – has announced plans for the development of extensive electric vehicle testing facilities worth £116m (US$151m) at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire, UK.
The announcement comes after founder and chief engineer James Dyson confirmed in September 2017 that the company has been working on a battery electric vehicle (BEV) for the last three years and is investing £2bn (US$2.7bn) into its development ahead of market launch in 2021.
The planning application for the proving ground includes more than 10 miles (16km) of test tracks for vehicle development and verification. In addition, it outlines 45,000m2 (485,000ft2) of new development space that could accommodate more than 2,000 people as well as a café, sports center, recreation space, and supporting technical facilities.
The test track proposals include: a dynamic handling track to assess and tune all aspects of ride, handling, steering and brakes; a vehicle stability dynamic platform for testing vehicle maneuverability; an off-road route that simulates the challenges of driving through soft and varied terrain; a hill and handling road route incorporating corners of differing severity and changes in altitude; a fast road route to test a vehicle up to its maximum speed as well as the functionality of ADAS; and test slopes offering differing gradients for testing powertrain functionality.
This most recent announcement officially signals the start of phase two of Dyson’s plan to turn the airfield into the company’s new technology center, with more than £200m (US$262m) now being invested for the UK expansion.
Following an £84m (US$109m) restoration of the first two 1938 hangars, 400 members of Dyson’s automotive team have moved into the advanced automotive space and a further three buildings are on course for delivery over the coming months, providing an additional 15,000m² (161,500ft²) of testing space. The company is working with Wilkinson Eyre architects on the renovation, however there is currently no opening timeframe on phase two.
Jim Rowan, CEO, Dyson, 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 hope to invest £200m (US$262m), creating more high-skilled jobs for Britain.
“We are now firmly focused on the next stage of our automotive project strengthening our credentials as a global research and development organization.”
Dyson, which is currently recruiting an additional 300 automotive roles, will continue to focus on the development of solid-state battery cells, high-speed electric motors, vision systems, machine learning technologies, and AI.
Click on the following link to watch a video of Dyson’s transformation of Hullavington Airfield.