Dinner Table Conversation: What Do Vacuum Cleaners Have to Do with Electric Cars?

October 26, 2017

There’s a race going on, but it’s not like a traditional race with athletes and a finish line. It’s a different kind of a race—one to see which company will bring a mass-produced (and affordable!) electric car to the market. Believe it or not, electric cars aren’t a recent phenomenon. In fact, the first electric car (or carriage, rather!) was invented by a person named Robert Anderson in the 1830s.

By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Although General Motors attempted to bring the electric car to the masses in the late 1980s, it wasn’t until Toyota introduced the Prius Hybrid (a car that’s half powered by gas and half by electricity) in the late 1990s, and Tesla introduced the sporty all-electric Tesla Roadster, that the electric car race began to pick up steam. Now, traditional car manufacturers are pledging to turn their entire fleet of cars into hybrid or electric vehicles, each racing to build new lines of electric cars. But it’s not just other car manufacturers that they’re racing against.

By F. Duten (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Oh, no! Dyson, a company that makes vacuum cleaners, recently announced that they too will be joining the electric car race. If you’re skeptical that a vacuum maker can compete with car manufacturers who have both more experience and a head start on making electric cars, you’re not alone! Despite naysayers, however, Dyson is moving forward with plans to build electric cars. They’ve invested 2.5 billion British pounds and approximately 400 engineers in the project. Plus, they’re working on using a different kind of battery (one that will be lighter and charge faster) for their electric cars, manufacturing their cars in China, and growing their market in Asia rather than Europe. So, skeptic or not, the electric car race is on, and anyone can enter. May the best company win!