In late 2017, appliance maker Dyson, best known for its line of vacuums and those hand dryers that’ll blow the skin on your hands clean off, announced that it would be entering the field of electric cars. Less of a stretch than it might seem, the company had extensive experience designing efficient electric motors and battery packs. Now, with the wheels of development turning, many of the company’s EV patents are set to be published today. So Dyson has revealed some information and context about their patents. Which might provide some insight into their upcoming electric vehicles.
First, it’s important to note that Dyson says the filings “don’t reveal what our vehicle will really look like.” It’s a placeholder sketch.
It starts with the wheels. When you don’t come from an automotive background, it turns out you might find some opportunities to reinvent them. That doesn’t mean a square wheel or a fancy flexible one, but it means a very tall wheel.
Dyson calls for “wheels having an outer diameter of between 45% and 55% of the vehicle height.” In the filing, the company doesn’t distinguish between tire and wheel, so this appears to be the total tire and wheel outer diameter. With a sidewall height of between 80 and 145 mm.
Dyson gives a total vehicle height of between 1600 and 1800 mm. So picture a Chevrolet Equinox with 24-inch wheels and 245/50 tires. Those are some big wheels. And lifted 6 to 10 cm.
Why the big wheels? Dyson says they offer significantly reduced rolling resistance and improved regenerative braking. Which increases range. They also allow high ground clearance which raises the driver without the compromised handling of a raised suspension. Finally, without an engine, the taller wheels can be fitted without making a wider body. Because they can cut into the hood area instead of pushing outward.
Dyson’s patent calls for a vehicle that’s tall, for improved visibility and access, but long in order to make up for the cabin space lost to the high floor. Between 4,700mm and 5,000 mm long. That’s about the length of a midsize three-row crossover. The vehicle mentioned in the patent is decidedly a large one. About the size of a Honda Pilot or Chevrolet Traverse.
There’s a great deal of talk of break-over angles and high ground clearance. So this electric vehicle that sounds an awful lot like a crossover is also starting to sound like it will have off-road capability. The idea of gliding silently through the woods seems like a good one to us. Dyson also spends much of the document talking about H-point. That’s the theoretical position of your hip when you’re seated in the vehicle. A higher H-point is why crossovers are easier to get in and out of than lower sedans. The point is closer to the point of your hip when standing. Dyson wants to give the vehicle a crossover-like H-point with the seating position of a sedan. Which offers more headroom for drivers.
So don’t take the sketch as what you’ll see when Dyson’s EV is eventually revealed, but do expect something that looks like a midsize crossover with very tall wheels and more ground clearance than the rest of the class. Oh, and it had better include a built-in Dyson like the HondaVac Honda offers in the Odyssey or the Stow-n-Vac of Chrysler’s Pacifica. In his email to staff, company head James Dyson said that the vehicle is expected to launch in 2021.