Currently reading: Trials of Riversimple Rasa hydrogen car to start next year ahead of 2022 launch
British start-up will lease 20 examples of two-seat fuel cell car; plans a delivery van for its second vehicle
Rachel Burgess
News
3 mins read
30 October 2019

Trials of Riversimple's hydrogen-fuelled Rasa two-seater will begin next spring ahead of an anticipated market launch in 2022.

The 20-car trial will be based in Monmouthshire, Wales, where the British start-up company has invested in a hydrogen filling station in Abergavenny.

Users already signed up include five public sector operators, who will run a Rasa each for a number of months, two car-sharing companies and 280 retail customers. Each of the latter group will get to lease the car for only a month, as Riversimple founder Hugo Spowers wants as many people as possible to try the car.

These customers will pay £370 per month and 18 pence per mile. Spowers hopes to keep this pricing when the Rasa reaches volume production.

“It's indicative pricing that we think will come to market. It’s benchmarked against the cost of ownership of a bottom-of-the-range diesel [Volkswagen] Golf,” Spowers said.

Concerning the trial’s intended outcomes, he added: “The trial is intended to refine the customer proposition and demonstrate the economics of filling station; we hope the one we’ve put in is the only one we’ll ever do. We want to work with Shell and so on to demonstrate the effectiveness from their point of view of this model of infrastructure.

“We also want to showcase the project to other local councils and government about how it works at a community level. We want to focus on this kind of expansion. Rather than blanket the UK, we will be targeting various areas.”

The trial will also gather data on usage styles; each car has 20GB of bandwidth for this purpose.

The lightweight Rasa is claimed to be capable of an estimated 250mpg and a 300-mile range from 1.5kg of hydrogen. It uses a fuel cell that combines hydrogen with oxygen to form water and electricity. This electricity powers four motors that drive each of the car’s wheels, with a combined output of about 443lb ft of torque. The whole drivetrain has just 18 moving parts and is capable of accelerating the car from 0-60mph in 9.5sec and on to a top speed of 75mph.

Spowers added that Riversimple hopes to take the Rasa to volume production in 2022, depending on equity and grants. It has a significant support for its manufacturing facility from the Welsh government, and Spowers is confident of winning another grant to facilitate production engineering of the model.

Riversimple will also open-source its hydrogen technology. “We are open sourcing our technology when we come to market and would like to see many people as possible copy us to build volume in our supply chain to drive cost down,” explained Spowers.

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Autocar last reported on Riversimple in 2016, when the firm anticipated that 3500 Rasas would be produced in 2018. Addressing the delay, Spowers said: “We’ve taken less time than Toyota [with its Mirai]. It spent 25 years doing this, and it’s only just on the market. We had our first prototype running in 2016. We’ve been developing that, and we’re now building a low-volume production run of 20 cars.”

Following the launch of the Rasa, Riversimple will launch a last-mile delivery van, based on the same powertrain, made at the same plant and using the same infrastructure strategy.

Spowers said: “It’s a huge growth market if you look at any city and emissions from delivery vehicles.

"It will allow us to build volume in our plant and also for our infrastructure partners. We don’t want it to be our first vehicle, because we don’t want to define the brand with a utility vehicle.”

READ MORE

Riversimple to commence Beta testing of Rasa hydrogen car

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New Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle makes public debut

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Comments
11

30 October 2019

Assuming it's not a typo, why does a lightweight 2 seater with 443lb/ft of torque (30 more than a Huracan) take 9.5seconds to to reach 60mph?

30 October 2019
Leslie Brook wrote:

Assuming it's not a typo, why does a lightweight 2 seater with 443lb/ft of torque (30 more than a Huracan) take 9.5seconds to to reach 60mph?

 

Because torque doesn't = speed, or acceleration.

30 October 2019

Wasn't this all announced 3 or so years ago. Anyway I'll save the 100 or so mugs the effort, it's not as good as a Golf, alot more expensive to run than than a Zoe and they have constant range anxiety. It's just as well it's only a 2 seater as I'd feel my family were as safe in one as in a Reliant Robin.

It's taken this long for a reason - it's $£T%

5 November 2019
xxxx wrote:

Wasn't this all announced 3 or so years ago. Anyway I'll save the 100 or so mugs the effort, it's not as good as a Golf, alot more expensive to run than than a Zoe and they have constant range anxiety. It's just as well it's only a 2 seater as I'd feel my family were as safe in one as in a Reliant Robin.

It's taken this long for a reason - it's $£T%

 

"Trial"?...you should be on one, for wasting everyones time with your tosh and balderdash. Complete contradiction...being a two seater, why would you want to try to fit more than two into it in the first place, then call it unsafe?.

 

Not the first time you have rubbished other peoples efforts...where were you when Benz invented the first recognisable motor car?...no doubt you would have deemed his first efforts in a similar disrespectful manner...then you go onnnnn attempting to directly compare this car with two others with completely unrelated drive trains, target markets, etc. No ffol like an old fool... your family must be soooo proud....

27 July 2020
Takeitslowly wrote:

xxxx wrote:

Wasn't this all announced 3 or so years ago. Anyway I'll save the 100 or so mugs the effort, it's not as good as a Golf, alot more expensive to run than than a Zoe and they have constant range anxiety. It's just as well it's only a 2 seater as I'd feel my family were as safe in one as in a Reliant Robin.

It's taken this long for a reason - it's $£T%

......being a two seater, why would you want to try to fit more than two into it in the first place, then call it unsafe?

xxxx is absolutely right. This car is pants. There's nothing wrong with a 2 seater - but this has *NO* space for luggage whatsover (makes a 'Smart' look spacious inside), whilst exterior dimensions are as big as a normal 4 seater. That's ridiculous. It's performance is pathetic - top speed of about 60 mph on the flat, and it doesn't take too high a hill to exhaust the supercapacitors and leave it crawling. (The fuel cell alone can only manage 60mph on the flat - on a steep hill it's totally inadequate.)

 I heard about this several years ago and was searching to find out what (if any) progress there had been since. The answer seems to be zero. Still at the stage of "starting beta trials next year". The company is only still alive due to Welsh government and EU money - it's time to save that and put the company out of it's misery.

The concept may have been a good idea when the company first formed, but the advances in batteries and their plummeting cost now make hydrogen and fuel cells for cars pointless.

30 October 2019
I'm sorry but this project will never succeed. As ever, the founders are confusing developing a car with making and selling one profitably.

They may well manage a few running prototypes but without the monies, production experience and distribution channels of a major manufacturer they are doomed unless they can access the billion that Tesla managed from capital markets

30 October 2019

They should look into making hydrogen powered generators for building sites instead.

30 October 2019

The economic future of this company is persuading investors and selling the company to a large car company. I can't foresee it expand by itself. Other serious car companies have already started developing hydrogen family cars, a two seater will never be economically justified. The lught weight immediately raises the question: How safe is it?

30 October 2019

The economic future of this company is persuading investors and selling the company to a large car company. I can't foresee it expand by itself. Other serious car companies have already started developing hydrogen family cars, a two seater will never be economically justified. The light weight immediately raises the question: How safe is it?

30 October 2019

" 250mpg and a 300-mile range from 1.5kg of hydrogen." impossible.  Hydrogen is now over £10 a kilo so £15 worth of hydrogen (2.2 gallons of fuels) to do 300 miles (max) works out to approx. 135 mpg. Considerable less than a Tesla Model S or LEAF using Economy 7

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