Riversimple, a small Welsh sustainable mobility company, is preparing to launch a beta trial of its new hydrogen vehicle, the Rasa, in 2018.
The Rasa is a peculiarly shaped two-seater compact, with an overall low, rounded profile, kidney-shaped back window, a thin rear lighting strip nearly connecting both rear wheel arches, comma-shaped side windows and light body lines.
Featuring a lightweight carbon fiber chassis weighing only 1278-lbs. (580-kg), it is powered by an 8.5-kW hydrogen fuel cell, which combines gas with water to make electricity. Four electric motors are placed at each wheel, doubling as brakes capable of recovering 50 percent of its kinetic energy. Other notables include supercapacitors for energy storage.
Regarding driving range, Riversimple claims a 300-mile range and a 9-second 0-to-55-mph time.
As for next steps, the company plans to start a beta trial project with 750 participants in Monmouthshire, a Welsh city known for having “more castles per square mile than anywhere else in the UK.” The beta trial will continue for 12 months before introducing the vehicles to market by 2020 if all goes according to plan.
Riversimple also claims a different business model than the traditional cash purchase, financing, or lease. Instead of a straight purchase, it operates more like a subscription model slash lease on steroids. With this model, a customer signs up for a fixed one to three-year contract with fees paid at regular intervals to cover car, insurance, fuel, maintenance, and depreciation.
“We’re probably the only car company that hopes never to sell a car,” said Hugo Stowers in a statement.
Rasa, meaning ‘clean slate’ in Latin, was founded by Hugo Spowers, a former F1 race car designer and Oxford University engineering graduate who started Oscar Automotive in 2001 before it was renamed Riversimple in 2007.Previously, the brand released the Morgan LIFEcar and the Riversimple Urban Car, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles which incorporate the same philosophies of using lightweight carbon fiber, open source development, and the subscription, sale-of-service model.
Its Riversimple team comprises of a mix of experts from the racing, engineering and design fields, operating two facilities – a research and development center in Llandrindod Wells, Wales and a design studio in Barcelona, Spain.
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