Riversimple’s Rasa hydrogen car will be available to the public in 2018

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 22, 2016

Car buyers with an eye for greener car models will soon have one more option to add to the growing list of environmentally-friendly cars. Riversimple Movement Ltd. recently unveiled its first road-legal hydrogen prototype road car which the company developed with the help of a £2 million grant from the Welsh government last year.

This unique car is designed to get maximum range from its hydrogen fuel while at the same time emit minimal pollution. These main adjectives were achieved by an innovative design that focused on lightness, strength, safety and affordability.

Riversimple will not offer the new hydrogen-powered car through outright sale but through the company’s unique “sale of service” model. Interested motorists may use the car for a fixed monthly fee, which the company said is comparable in cost to leasing and running a family-sized hatchback. This monthly fee will cover the car’s fuel expenses, cost of repairs, maintenance and insurance and could offer the impetus needed to launch this prototype.

At the end of the ownership period, customers may opt to return the unit to Riversimple or simply exchange it for a newer model. Doing this basically frees them from depreciation concerns. This innovative car was designed and developed by a team of highly-qualified personnel who came from Formula 1 teams, aerospace engineering firms and world-renowned carmakers and is led by Hugo Spowers, Riversimple’s Founder.

Chris Reitz, one of Europe’s leading car designers, is credited for Rasa’s elegant exterior which is even more accentuated by the clean lines of the design. One of Rasa’s most impressive characteristics is its extremely low weight of only 580 kg which is actually just half the weight of a small car. This outstanding feat is achieved by the use of a carbon composite chassis and a unique powertrain that contains only 18 moving parts.

Riversimple is generous with the new technologies and componentry that were utilized in the car’s production as the company chooses an open-source approach, with the intention that sharing would eventually encourage other manufacturers to do the same and this will create economies of scale for this segment. Amazingly, its unique propulsion system consists of a rather small 8.5kW fuel cell which, at 11hp, can be compared to the size currently used in forklift trucks.

When the car is in motion, hydrogen passes through this fuel cell where it then combines with oxygen to produce electricity as well as its byproduct – water. Another energy-saving feature of the car is that it reabsorbs more than 50% of the kinetic energy produced when braking which is then converted to electric energy and stored temporarily in a bank of super-capacitors. This enables the car to have an astounding 300 mile range for every 1.5kg of hydrogen which is equivalent to a fuel economy of 250 mpg, with a top speed of 60 mph.

This vehicle boasts of having the lowest carbon emission for any vehicle ‘wheel-to-wheel’ at a mere 40g CO2/km, with water being the only output. With another € 2million EU grant, Riversimple will start a public 12-month Beta trial involving 20 Rasa prototypes, the production model of which will be available by 2018.

Spowers said that the Rasa prototype is a milestone in demonstrating a working, affordable yet highly-efficient car powered by hydrogen. In addition, the Rasa introduces to motorists a new way of car ownership that is both budget and environment friendly, paving the way for an easier adoption of this new green-powered alternative.

Press Release

Riversimple Presents the Revolutionary Rasa Hydrogen-powered Road Car

Riversimple Movement Ltd is pleased to announce the unveiling of the “Rasa”, a road-legal engineering prototype of its first two-seater hydrogen powered road car, built for full European type approval. Supported by a £2m grant from the Welsh government in 2015, every aspect of the Rasa has been tailor-made and interrogated for lightness, strength, affordability and safety, to produce a vehicle that will maximise hydrogen as a fuel source and minimise pollution.

Riversimple will offer the car to motorists through its unique “sale of service” model. For a fixed monthly fee and mileage allowance, similar in expenditure to leasing and running a new family-sized hatchback, the company will cover all repair, maintenance, insurance and fuel expenses. Customers will never actually buy the car and experience the burden of depreciation; they will simply exchange or return it at the end of the ownership period. Led by Riversimple’s Founder, Hugo Spowers, the Rasa has been engineered by a highly-skilled team from some of the world’s most renowned carmakers, Formula 1 teams and aerospace engineering companies.

Its elegant and clean lines have been styled by Chris Reitz, one of Europe’s leading car designers. With a total kerb weight of just 580kg (nearly half of a small car), it features a carbon composite chassis and only 18 moving parts in the entire powertrain. Furthermore, Riversimple will adopt an open-source approach to its technology and componentry to encourage the proliferation of its technology and economies of scale within the sector.

When the vehicle is in motion, hydrogen passes through the small 8.5kW fuel cell (the size currently used in forklift trucks, equivalent to 11hp), where it combines with oxygen to form water and electricity to drive the motors positioned in each of the four wheels. More than 50% of the kinetic energy produced under braking is recovered and turned into electricity to boost acceleration via a bank of super-capacitors.

The result is a range of up to 300 miles on 1.5kg of hydrogen, estimated fuel economy equivalent to 250mpg, and a top speed of 60mph. At around 40g CO2/km, the Riversimple car has the lowest carbon emissions for any vehicle 'well-to-wheel', and water is the only output. Starting later this year, following funding to match a €2m EU grant, Riversimple will be conducting a public 12-month Beta trial of 20 Rasa prototype cars as part of the continued development of the first full production model which will come to market in 2018.

It will be offered to individuals in a strategically planned phased roll-out by region in order to support a low risk, commercially practical introduction of profitable hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. Hugo Spowers, Founder of Riversimple Movement Ltd, said: “The Rasa engineering prototype marks another key milestone in bringing an affordable and highly-efficient hydrogen-powered car to market. We really have started from a clean sheet of paper.

The Rasa gives us the opportunity to introduce customers to a more convenient concept of motoring, a lightness of ownership that neither places a burden on the pockets of motorists or the surrounding environment. The car is simple, light and fun in every respect.”

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