Your tech news digest, by way of theÂ DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, May 18.
1. Dysonâ€™s canceled electric car revealed
Sir James Dyson, Britainâ€™s richest man, spent Â£500m developing an electric car to rival Teslaâ€™s. Then he scrapped it before the first prototype took to the road. He tells John Arlidge why https://t.co/mIVmVFnN6D
â€” The Sunday Times Magazine (@TheSTMagazine) May 17, 2020
Dyson finally unveiled its canceled electric car in a big exclusive (albeit behind a hard paywall) at The Sunday Times in the UK. And it is, or it was, a massive, fancy-looking SUV that took more than $606m of money to create, and hasnâ€™t been seen outside of Dyson, before now.
Now we finally get a look at the codenamed â€œN526â€�, along with an in-depth interview with Dysonâ€™s owner, Sir James Dyson:
- According to James Dyson, who drove it himself in a secret compound, the seven-seater SUV was â€œfive metres long, two metres wide and 1.7 metres tall.â€�
- It possessed a sharp-looking windscreen which â€œrakes back more steeply than on a Ferrari.â€�
- And 1m diameter wheels that â€œare bigger than on any production car on the marketâ€�.
- Despite an all-aluminum build, it knocked around at 2.6-tons, but could still manage zero to 62MPH in 4.8 seconds, via twin 200kW electric motors rated with 536BHP and 480lb/ft of torque.
- And all at a phenomenal 600-mile battery range.
- But it wasnâ€™t using Dysonâ€™s long-promised solid-state batteries, a crucial factor that may change both EVs and the wider world of battery-powered devices completely.
- Instead, it had a more-standard lithium-ion pack that still packed supposedly incredible range, and â€œwould have delivered 600 miles on a single charge,â€� said Dyson, apparently in all-weather conditions.
- There are legitimate reasons to doubt that, but weâ€™ll never know for sure.
On the inside, things are quirky.
- The seats? â€œI hate those armchair-style seats that you sink into, because thereâ€™s never enough lumbar support and you get back pain,â€� complained Dyson.
- Dysonâ€™s other design touches included storage compartments that look like â€œpull-out filing cabinets,â€� while the dashboard looked curiously empty:
- â€œAll the key dashboard information â€” speed, sat-nav instructions â€” floats in front of your face like a hologram â€˜so you never have to take your eyes off the roadâ€™.â€�
So, why was Â£500 million spent on R&D to not sell a single vehicle? Sheer costs.
- Each fancy-looking SUV needed to sell for Â£150,000 ($181k) to break even, which was considered just too risky, with money the main killer.
- From the exclusive: â€œElectric cars are very expensive to make. The battery, battery management, electronics and cooling are much more expensive than an internal combustion engine,â€� [James Dyson] explains.
- â€œIt turned out that each Dyson would have had to fetch Â£150,000 to break even, far more than electric models from the big car makers, which subsidise costs with sales of traditional petrol and diesel cars.â€�
- Donâ€™t worry about Dyson though. According to the report, Dyson added to his considerable wealth over the past year, and can scrape together some Â£16.2 billion or so, now the richest person in the UK.
- Not that Dysonâ€™s own money was ever really wasted: 500 people were employed for the project (â€œThe car people are a talent influx,â€� said Dyson) and have remained since the car project was canceled on October 10, 2019.
In other car news:
- The general belief is the Apple self-driving electric car project (appleinsider.com), codenamed â€œTitan,â€� is still moving forward, despite 190 layoffs in early 2019, with recent patents still being filed.
- Meanwhile, over in Tesla world: â€œTeslaâ€™s next factory is going to be in Austin, Texas and itâ€™s going to happen quicklyâ€� (Electrek).
2. TSMC stops taking new orders for Huawei, and thatâ€™s a huge deal: â€œTSMC has stopped taking new orders from Huawei after the new rule change was announced to fully comply with the latest export control regulationâ€� (Android Authority).
3. Is selling your privacy for a cheaper phone really a good idea? (Android Authority).
4. When did Quad HD+ resolution become a hidden smartphone feature? (Android Authority).
5. The Poco F2 Pro is a Pocophone in name only â€” but thatâ€™s not a bad thing (Android Authority).
6.â€œGalaxy Z Flip: After 3 months, I canâ€™t stop using itâ€� (CNET).
7. A Mac fan switched to Windows and â€¦has complaints about the general lack of polish: What happened when I switched from Mac to Windows (Wired). I switched from Mac to Windows about three years ago with some of the same feelings and issues, but fewer problems.
8. Facebookâ€™s Giphy acquisition looks like a data grab, and might have big implications for iMessage, Twitter, Tinder, TikTok, and more. Slack has already said its use of Giphy doesnâ€™t involve data sharing. Antitrust? (The Verge).
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