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Sir James Dyson. Photo: Stuart Wilson / BFC via Getty Images

A deeply reported Financial Times piece provides new details about British inventor James Dyson's multi-billion dollar bid to enter the electric vehicle market with a car launched in 2020 or 2021.

Why it matters: Dyson is a hugely successful entrepreneur, so his EV initiative can't be ignored when the innovation and market-share battle is pretty open.

The details: The company is initially planning three vehicles. The first, which will have a relatively small production run, will "establish a route to market, a supply chain and a potential customer base," FT reports.

Reality check: The story says that despite his efforts to develop solid state batteries, the first car may use conventional lithium ion, though Dyson won't confirm this. He hopes subsequent models will use solid state technology, which hold the promise of more energy-rich batteries, FT reports.

Thought bubble, via Axios' Steve LeVine: Dyson has stepped on a rake with his foray into EV batteries. Two years ago, he was crowing about an acquisition coup with his $90 million buyout of a Michigan solid state battery startup called Sakti3, and his reported plans to install its batteries in many devices, including EVs.

  • But in recent months, Dyson has relinquished all Sakti3 patents and parted ways with its CEO, Ann Marie Sastry. And now, in his remarks to the FT, Dyson said that "those sorts of technologies" — apparently meaning futuristic batteries — “can take some time to get there.”

The bottom line, per Steve: Based on the FT article, Dyson appears to be conceding that solid state is a lot harder than he foresaw two years ago. Like the rest of the mortals in industry, if Dyson does come out with an EV, it will run on standard, and not souped-up, lithium-ion batteries.

Go deeper

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.

4 hours ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.