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Sir James Dyson said his company will build an electric car by 2020. Photo: Rob Bennett / AP Images for Dyson

James Dyson, the billionaire inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner, said Tuesday that his company is investing £2 billion ($2.7 billion) to develop and build a "radical and different" electric car, set to hit the streets in 2020, per BBC. Dyson said £1 billion will be spent on developing the car, and the other £1 billion on making the battery.

400 of his engineers have already been working on the secret project for the past two years at the company's headquarters in Mamesbury, Wiltshire, said Dyson. But the car doesn't exist yet, and Dyson has yet to decide where it will be manufactured. However, he has ruled out working with any existing auto companies and has said the car won't be aimed at the mass market.

The announcement comes five months after Dyson surprisingly relinquished the core patents of Sakti3, an ultra-secretive battery startup that he acquired in 2015 with the stated aim of creating an electric-car battery juggernaut. Sakti3 was working on cutting edge solid-state technology, which in theory would allow for a tremendous energy breakthrough by permitting the use of volatile pure lithium metal as the anode. But the startup could not overcome hurdles, especially cost.

Given that Dyson's electric car does not yet exist, 2020 is an extremely aggressive timeline. Dyson itself is as secretive as Apple, and thus nothing about its battery work — apart from abandoning the Sakti3 patents — has leaked since it began working on the project.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.