Are electric vehicles next for vacuum maker Dyson?

Luxury small appliance manufacturer Dyson is reportedly making a foray into electric vehicles.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Dyson's latest floor cleaner, the Small Ball upright vacuum.

Chris Monroe/CNET

According to the Guardian, a UK government document may have unintentionally outed high-end small appliance maker Dyson's plans to design an electric vehicle.

The public document, titled the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan 2016-2021, details everything from proposed road construction projects to science and research programs. The Guardian reported yesterday that the 113-page report disclosed that, "The government is funding Dyson to develop a new battery electric vehicle at their headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. This will secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering." Oops.

Those details are nowhere to be found in the plan now, though, with only a brief and significantly more obscure mention of Dyson on page 83 that says, "The government is providing a grant of up to £16m to Dyson to support research and development for battery technology at their site in Malmesbury [Dyson HQ]."

Dyson definitely hasn't shied away from prototypes in the past. Dyson.com mentions the 5,127 concepts its founder, James Dyson, completed before he was ready to introduce his bagless vacuum cleaner to the world. Since then, Dyson has expanded well beyond vacuum sales to include other luxury small appliances from desktop heaters and fans to air purifiers, humidifiers and even robot vacuums -- all of which fetch high prices and boast efficient, state-of-the-art design.

Not only that, but Dyson is already well positioned for new projects, with reports that the manufacturer has sunk billions of pounds into R&D in recent years for everything from robotics research to digital motors and noise-canceling tech. Most recently, the manufacturers made claims that it would be releasing 100 new products in four new categories over the next four years -- some of which are supposedly slated for outdoor use. An electric vehicle, perhaps?

Dyson is keeping quiet about this news today -- "Unfortunately, we're not able to comment on products that are in development," they told CNET. But we'll be sure to keep tracking the news to see if these claims happen to come true.

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