British Inventor James Dyson is betting that he can turn his company into the new Tesla. It is bold move, given how Tesla has struggled to tackle the traditional car manufacturing business and make a profit for it’s investors. Dyson’s vision is bolder still – as it plans to launch a range of electric cars without an IPO, remaining a privately owned company.
Several factors in the success of Dyson as a company are aligning here. Technology and manufacturing of batteries and electric motors is clearly one. Dyson already makes 7% of the world’s lithium ion cells. He churned out 5,126 prototypes of the electric machine that would make his name and fortune.
The crucial advantage he has over Tesla though, is that he is already a mass production manufacturer. Dyson thinks, like Musk, that the incumbent vehicle manufacturing industry doesn’t know what it is doing. However, unlike Musk, he can back that up with manufacturing know-how and the track record of having successfully conquered another mass-manufacturing market.
The other advantage that he has over Tesla is that he is less beholden to the stock market. He plans to keep the company private and fund the £2.5b investment in the electric car division using before-tax profits – £801m last year. His debt levels are low so he also has room to borrow before needing to go to the stock market to raise funds.
Dyson has decided to locate the headquarters of its car manufacturing in Singapore, citing access to the world’s largest electric car market – China – as a primary consideration. The first car is planned for 2021.