Aston Martin CEO Throws Shade at Dyson, Calls Its Targets "Unachievable"
He might as well be talking to all startup manufacturersby Kirby Garlitos, on
Add Andy Palmer to the list of people who are skeptical about Dyson’s ambitious timetable to roll out an electric car by 2020. The Aston Martin CEO made his opinions known in a conversation with Autocar, highlighting some underlying issues that all startup automakers face when they try to break into one of the most competitive industries in the world. Dyson, according to Palmer, isn’t exempt from these issues, especially when it’s trying to achieve its goals on an accelerated timetable.
Palmer expressed doubts that James Dyson will achieve his goal to have an electric car by 2020.
For better or worse, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer isn’t the type to mince his words on topics like this. In the conversation, Palmer expressed doubts that James Dyson will achieve his goal to have an electric car by 2020.
“I wish him the best of luck,” he said. “But on the numbers that have been reported, I know you won’t do it for that money, and you won’t do it in that timescale. At least, I know that I couldn’t.”
Palmer’s comments about Dyson’s finances and timetable are right on point. Startup automakers are ambitious enough that they don’t see the practicalities of building a car from the ground-up. Some companies — I’m looking at you, Faraday Future — are even susceptible to delusions of grandeur. They believe that anything is achievable with the right plan and a proper mindset. That’s great, but a “right plan” and a “proper mindset” isn’t going to print money and create robotic engineers that can do a task faster than humans ever could.
There are limitations to these ambitions. A lot of startups don’t see that because all they’re looking at is the promise of realizing their goals. Palmer knows this more than anyone because he’s been in the industry long enough to see startup automakers rise in a blaze of glory, only to sputter in the end for one reason or another.
His tenure as Aston Martin CEO has also exposed him to several EV projects that a number of startups are developing, including signing an MOU with Faraday Future to develop a production version of the electric RapidE. That partnership hasn’t yielded the results Aston Martin’s looking for. So when he talks about being skeptical about Dyson’s own plans, he’s coming from a position of authority.
“We’ve had discussions with about 10 of them,” he said. “Every single one has underestimated the difficulty of engineering a car to a budget and to an aggressive timescale. Some of them will get there, but always over budget and late.”
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