Dyson is entering the electric car market with what it calls a ‘premium pruduct’. If nothing else it shows how barriers to entry in the car industry seem to be turning into gateways to entry.
Maybe we should be asking when will we getting a Henry car? After-all, many people claim that the Henry vacuum cleaner scores over the Dyson. It’s not as fancy of course, you can’t stare at its innards through its transparent casing, it’s not streamlined, it’s just a face painted on a drum, but it packs a punch and is virtually indestructible.
It just doesn’t look cool.
These days, of course, Dyson makes fans and hand and hair dryers too and there is always something flashy about them. The fans are like furniture, the hand dryers are meant to be ultra efficient.
Dyson also makes cordless vacuum cleaners, meaning they have batteries.
But, to state the obvious, there is a big difference between a battery powered vacuum cleaner and a battery car.
It represents a big leap for the company, but then electric cars are not like internal combustion engine vehicles. They may not start with a roar, but they have less moving parts, they are less complex, less to go wrong – no bad thing if you have ever owned a Dyson vacuum cleaner, some people own two, one in use, one in repair.
We don’t know how much the Dyson car will cost, but we are told that it won’t come cheap, a more pertinent question suggests Dyson is how much money you will have to find for the deposit?
But the move by Dyson does illustrate a truth: less moving parts means lower barriers to entry, less scale required to realise optimal efficiency, the car business is set to get very busy.
What does this mean for existing car companies? It means more competition.
What does this mean for Tesla? Well actually Tesla is first and foremost a battery company, and battery production does need scale, Tesla may end up supplying batteries to Dyson.
PS: EasyJet has said that within ten years its planes will be electric. Yet electric car cynics have long said “if this is such a good idea, why don’t we have electric planes?” And by the way, in the airline business, barriers to entry are already low – when will we get a flying Dyson, or a flying Henry?