Launching a successful car company is never easy, but Welsh firm Riversimple hopes to crack the industry with its advanced compact car.
Revealed in prototype guise, the Rasa two-seater that runs solely on hydrogen has been approved for testing throughout Europe over a 12 month period, starting later this year .
The Riversimple Rasa is underpinned by a carbon fiber composite chassis and thanks to the use of other lightweight components, tips the scales at a mere 580 kg. Power comes courtesy of an 8.5 kW fuel cell delivering the equivalent of 11 hp that drives each of the four in-wheel motors. Additionally, the powertrain incorporates super-capacitors that capture energy produced under braking and turn it into electricity for the electric motors.
The production car is claimed to have a range of up to 482 km (300 miles) when running on 1.5 kg of hydrogen. Good enough, provided a sufficient infrastructure will be built.
The company itself is being supported by a 2 million pound grant from the Welsh government. Twenty prototypes will be created for testing in order to validate the vehicle's systems before a production model hits the market in 2018.
Discussing the car, founder of Riversimple, Huho Spowers, 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. It 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.”