We’ve heard of it before, but it’s now confirmed. Dyson, the maker of bladeless fans and vacuum cleaners, is coming up with a car. In line with the times, that car will be a battery-powered electric car, and it will be launched by 2020. James Dyson, the British inventor behind his namesake brand, revealed plans for an EV yesterday in London.

According to Reuters, Dyson said he was spending two billion pounds to exploit his company’s expertise in solid-state battery technology and electric motors to be found in his vacuum cleaners and other products like bladeless fans and air purifiers.

“Battery technology is very important to Dyson, electric motors are very important to Dyson, environmental control is very important to us. I have been developing these technologies consistently because I could see that one day we could do a car,” the 71-year old Dyson said at his company’s flagship shop on Oxford Street.

While EVs are in vogue today, this is not a recent idea. Dyson said that a 400-strong team of engineers had already spent two and a half years working on what was until now, a secret car project in Wiltshire, UK. However, the car itself still has to be designed and the choice of battery to be finalised.

He added that the company was backing solid-state rather than the lithium ion technology used in existing EVs because it was safer, the batteries would not overheat, were quicker to charge and potentially more powerful.

What led James to the idea of making a car? Dyson said his ambition to go it alone was driven by the car industry’s dismissal of an idea he had of applying his cyclonic technology – one that had revolutionised vacuum cleaners – to handle diesel emissions in car exhaust systems in the 1990s.

“We are not a johnny-come-lately onto the scene of electric cars. It has been my ambition since 1998 when I was rejected by the industry, which has happily gone on making polluting diesel engines, and governments have gone on allowing it,” he said. Of course, the current shift to electric was turbocharged by VW’s ‘Dieselgate’ emissions cheating scandal.

Dyson gave no clues away, just saying that his EV would not be like anything else already on the market. “There’s no point in doing one that looks like everyone else‘s,” he said, adding that it would not be a sports car and it would not be “a very cheap” car.

“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,” he told staff in an email. Dyson said he was revealing this now because it was becoming harder to talk to subcontractors, government and potential new employees. The UK government is supporting Dyson’s efforts.

Also yet to be decided is where the Dyson EV will be made, although Dyson has ruled out working with big car companies. “Wherever we make the battery, we’ll make the car, that’s logical. So we want to be near our suppliers, we want to be in a place that welcomes us and is friendly to us, and where it is logistically most sensible. And we see a very large market for this car in the Far East,” Dyson said. The company’s vacuum cleaners and washing machines are presently made in Malaysia.