James Dyson, the British inventor and businessman behind Dyson, has announced the company famous for vacuums and hand dryers plans to develop a battery-electric vehicle. In a letter to employees, Dyson said the company would have the vehicle ready by 2020.

Although it's best known for expensive cyclonic vacuum cleaners, Dyson has its fingers in many pies. The company makes (expensive) blade-less fans and an (expensive) hair dryer, and is a huge investor in robotics and artificial intelligence research. Anyone who has used an airport bathroom recently will be familiar with the Airblade, too.

James Dyson says he's already assembled a 400-strong team to work on the vehicle, and the company plans to invest £2 billion (US$2.69 billion) in the project. In typical Dyson fashion, there are no details about the car at the moment because "competition for new technology in the automotive industry is fierce."

So, why is a vacuum company going into the EV business? Well, back in 1993, a Dyson team developed a cyclonic exhaust filter for diesel vehicles. Although the technology was (reportedly) effective, there was very little interest within the automotive industry, which was concerned about disposing of the waste it would create.

Developing an electric car is another way to tackle emissions, and a logical next step for Dyson, which has spent countless millions on developing powerful motors, fans and batteries for its products.

Source: Dyson via Twitter