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Dyson confirmed today it aims to launch a battery electric vehicle by 2020, taking the brand well beyond the fans, vacuum cleaners and hand dryers it’s known for today.

At present the company has 400 staff working on the project, and has committed 2.0 billion pounds ($3.4 billion) in funds to bring the vehicle to reality.

A production facility has yet be named, and the company has yet to provide any specifics about the vehicle’s range, power, performance numbers and body style.

We also don’t know whether the vehicle will be a mass market competitor for the Nissan Leaf or something aimed further upmarket, like the Tesla Model S. Given the premium positioning of Dyson’s home appliances, a luxury positioning seems likely.

For all we know, it might even be nothing more than a street sweeper… but time will tell.

Announcing the news, James Dyson, the company’s founder, said: “The project will grow quickly from here but at this stage we will not release any information.

“Competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce and we must do everything we can to keep the specifics of our vehicle confidential.”

The company has hired several people from Aston Martin over the past few years, and has also accepted battery development grants from the British government.

In an email to staff, published in full by Recode, the inventor explained the reasons for jumping into the automotive space.

Spurred by a report linking the death of lab rats to diesel exhaust, Dyson says the company began work on a particulate filter in 1990. The filter never made it into production as automakers deemed “‘disposing’ of the collected soot … too much of a problem”.

Displeased by government incentives for “oxymoronically designated ‘clean diesel’ engines through subsidies and grants”, the Dieselgate affair, and convinced “automotive firms were not changing their spots”, Dyson and his company began work battery technology.

The company believes the time is ripe to bring together its research in batteries, digital motors and fluid dynamics to “solve [the problem] at the source” rather than simply filtering tailpipe emissions.

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