Engineering company Dyson, known for its vacuum cleaners and hairdryers, has announced that it is going to be developing electric cars.

The company has said it has had a secret team of 400 staff working on a “radical” electric car project for the past two years.

It plans to spend £2bn developing the product, which it hopes to bring to market in 2020.

James Dyson, the company’s chief executive, told staff in an email:

“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.”

As a result, details on the proposed vehicle are scarce. All we know is that: the car will look “radical and different”. As well, it will not be aimed at the mass market.

Why is Dyson developing electric cars?

Dyson said the detrimental effect that air pollution is having is a reason to invest in electric cars.

“In London, nearly 9,500 people die early each year due to long-term exposure to air pollution according to a study carried out by researchers at King’s College London.

“It is our obligation to offer a solution to the world’s largest single environmental risk,” he said.

Countries like the UK, China, and France have all placed end-dates on the product of fossil fuel cars and vehicles in their remit.

Electric car competition is fierce

If Dyson wants to break into the electric car space, there is some serious competition. Elon Musk’s Tesla is the most well-known electric car company and became the most valuable car maker in the US in April.

What sets Tesla apart is that it maintains it’s a tech company that makes cars, setting it apart from its competitors like Volvo, which are car companies venturing into electric technology.

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Its battery power is unprecedented, something which is crucial to electric car technology. Earlier this year, it began building a 100MW battery storage farm to protect South Australia from any more energy crises.

If Dyson wants to be the next Tesla, then an investment in battery technology is going to be necessary.