The company best known for its vacuum cleaners is now developing an electric car

Dyson announced this week that it is expanding its cleaning prowess beyond the realm of home appliances to launch its first electric car, which the company says is expected to be “radically different” from other rivals currently on the market.

In an email sent out to Dyson employees and shared via Twitter, company founder Sir James Dyson revealed his intention to debut a battery electric vehicle by 2020. The car would build on existing technologies already used by Dyson's vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, incorporating the latest innovations in fluid dynamics and HVAC systems.

In the email, Dyson revealed the idea for the car dates back more than 25 years. After reading about the harmful effects of air pollution from diesel engines, Dyson started work in 1990 on a cyclonic filter that could be fitted onto a car exhaust system to trap particles. By 1993 the company had developed several prototypes, but the project came to halt when those in the auto industry declined to incorporate the technology, believing it was too cumbersome to dispose of the accumulated soot.

In the years since, interest in clean cars has exploded, and consumers are now demanding greener options. Despite this, Dyson says major auto manufacturers have “circumvented and duped clean air regulations,” and cities are still full of smog-pumping vehicles. This stirred Dyson to take the project back up again, with the intent of developing a cleaner car than those currently on the market.

“I’m not a Johnny-come-lately to electric cars. It’s been my ambition since 1998 when I was rejected by the industry that has happily been creating dirty vehicles, and governments have kept on allowing it,” Dyson said in a statement to The Guardian, while also revealing that the exact technology at work would remain a closely-guarded secret until release to fend off rivals from stealing his ideas.

Dyson is pouring more than £2 billion into the venture and already has a team of 400 working on the project, including engineers and experts from across the automotive industry, and plans to aggressively grow the team as the company gets closer to production. Dyson further clarified that his car “would not be a sports car” and would not come cheaply either.

“Maybe the better figure is how much of a deposit they would be prepared to put down,” he said.

The move from Dyson comes at a time when car manufacturers are beginning to move towards either purely electric or hybrid vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover has said all of its cars will be electric or hybrids by 2020, while Telsa recently revealed its plans to greatly expand the number of electric charging stations in major cities across the U.S.

Dyson

Dyson announced this week that it is expanding its cleaning prowess beyond the realm of home appliances to launch its first electric car, which the company says is expected to be “radically different” from other rivals currently on the market.

In an email sent out to Dyson employees and shared via Twitter, company founder Sir James Dyson revealed his intention to debut a battery electric vehicle by 2020. The car would build on existing technologies already used by Dyson's vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, incorporating the latest innovations in fluid dynamics and HVAC systems.