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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
39 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Higher education expands its climate push

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The pandemic isn't slowing tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Early voting in Austin earlier this month. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.