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Monday 1 September 2014

EU Vacuum Cleaner Row – Dyson Speaks

The sheer idiocy of some commentators observing the new EU-wide standards for vacuum cleaners was typified last night by, of all media outlets, the BBC, where viewers were left with the clear impression that they would have to spend longer cleaning their houses unless they had joined the last-minute panic and bought a machine with a 2000 watt motor.
Dyson DC02: still complies with the rules 18 years on

Here on Zelo Street there has been no such panic, as the trusty Dyson DC02 is still going strong, and despite being 1990s vintage, would not have fallen foul of the new rules, as Dyson have never sold a cleaner with a motor rating exceeding the new 1600 watt maximum. Yet Dyson cleaners, as even the Daily Mail has admitted, have seen a 78% sales increase recently.

Why should that be? After all, no Dyson model has been banned, so all will still be on sale for at least the next three years (when the maximum motor rating falls to 900 watts). Indeed, the upright DC50, which John Lewis will sell you for around £240, has a motor rated at only 700 watts: count the product reviews that describe it as “powerful”. Has the penny dropped yet?

At least the Mail has carried a comment from James Dyson alongside those from consumers who have been led to believe that a bigger motor rating somehow means they have bought a superior product. He put it directly: “Dyson has never made a vacuum cleaner of more than 1,400 watts because it is intelligent engineering that leads to high cleaning performance, not energy-thirsty motors”.

Moreover, Dyson has encouraged the EU to go further than the current standard: in a position paper on the issue, the company asserted that “Dyson considers that the Commission could implement more stringent thresholds to achieve greater energy savings”. The paper then went on to detail that support.

Energy caps? “These are an effective way to drive energy efficient design, will lower energy consumption and can be achieved without sacrificing performance” ... “The annual energy consumption of vacuum cleaners can be 1100W (circa 40kWh) after 2 years from implementation, reducing to 750W (circa 28kWh) after 5 years without sacrificing performance or consumer choice [my emphases]”.

Dyson’s paper then noted that, in 1994, a typical selection of vacuum cleaners on sale via the Argos catalogue did not feature a machine with a motor rated at more than 1500 watts. The trend to cleaners with motors rated at more than 2000 watts is a recent one; while some manufacturers have thrown more power at the problem, Dyson has gradually used less.

All of which just underscores the obvious conclusion: consumers are clearing out old and potentially unwanted old stock. The press has taken them for mugs.


Ceiliog said...

Judging by the comments on the BT Yahoo site, the mugs who've fallen for it are UKIP supporters. Will I enlighten them? Will I hell!

rob said...

"because it is intelligent engineering that leads to high cleaning performance, not energy-thirsty motors”."

And intelligent debate or reporting in tabloid newspapers would lead to better understanding by their readers, not agenda driven drivel or vapid cleb PR jobs?

Will we ever have a chance to find out?

anubeon said...

It really is absurd that we've allowed industry to fixate on power/wattage as the primary metric for so many utilities. Manufacturers really out to be encouraged to use objective measures of efficacy where appropriate.

This fixation on wattage has lead us to the absurd situation where we now describe 18 and 20w CFLs and '100w equivalents' and anything from 12-22w LED light bulbs as anything from 80-100w equivalents (quite erroneously and disingenuously in many cases). We should have been measuring lightbulb efficacy in lumens from the get go!