Rolling the R’s with the Riversimple Rasa, a New Fuel Cell Powered Dynamo from Wales

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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Someone Just Compared Tesla’s Factory Floor to the ‘Pre-Civil Rights Era’

Tesla’s long-game reshaping its public perception has just taken a hit, with new allegations that racial discrimination runs rampant at its Fremont, Calif. factory.

According to a new legal complaint filed in California’s Alameda County Superior Court by an African-American employee, Tesla’s factory floor is a racist, harassment-laden environment. The employee, Marcus Vaughn, who joined the company in a five-month stint, alleged hearing colleagues mouth the “N” word with repeated complaints made to HR before being terminated. As a result, the motion was filed for Vaughn, with a rumored 100 other plaintiffs pledging to follow suit.

“Although Tesla stands out as a groundbreaking company at the forefront of the electric car revolution, its standard operating procedure at the Tesla factory is pre-Civil Rights era race discrimination,” read the complaint.

In a public relations effort, Tesla published a blog post titled “Hotbed of Misinformation” on its website, reiterating its stance against discrimination and mentioning anti-discrimination courses as a requirement for all Tesla employees. Also, the post clarifies what Tesla considers “erroneous” news reports.

According to the Tesla team, there is only one plaintiff (not 100) and that a six-month temp contract was to blame for Vaughn’s end of employment, not termination. Other facts refute his employment standing and contents of an email sent to CEO Elon Musk that differs from what is being reported.

Many critics have also bashed Musk for his handling of racism at the company. In response to a discrimination incident, Musk sent a May 31 email to factory employees, pleading for employees to “be thick-skinned and accept that apology” if “someone is a jerk to you, but sincerely apologizes.” This note was deemed by others as insensitive, raising concerns Tesla was not doing enough to stop racism, leaving it the responsibility of the employee.


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Is This GM’s 2020 Chevy Bolt-Based Electric Crossover?

General Motors may have let the cat out of the bag with a picture showing what to expect in a few years from a Chevy-Bolt-based crossover.

Or at least so goes conjecture on a document CEO Mary Barra released yesterday discussing greenification of the company’s fleet.

Without badging to indicate Chevrolet or Buick or Cadillac, crossover could carry over the Bolt’s battery and powertrain for range in the middle-200-mile range in a form factor desired most by consumers these days.

The document also goes on to discuss an improved modular chassis for cross-brand EVs GM is to have by 2021. This platform would support things an EV fan would hope for including flexible modular batteries with more energy density and 30-percent lower costs, or maybe somewhere below $100/Kwh at the cell level.

It would also be supported by faster DC charging such as other companies are also developing, and the platform could be used for all brands to turn out EVs of various types

Chevrolet FNR-X Concept.

As noted by InsideEVs, the generic image of a future crossover EV looks a good bit like the FNR-X concept shown at this year’s Shanghai Auto Show in April.

While details at this stage remain the subject of guesswork, not speculative is GM said in October that it would have at least 20 new EV models by 2023.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said General Motors VP of Product Development Mark Reuss. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

The plan is to start with two new EVs introduced in the next 18 months based on what GM has learned from the Bolt EV, and are likely to share a platform and battery technology.

Following those two, at least 18 more EVs will launch by 2023. GM has already said that it expects to launch 10 electrified vehicles in China by 2020. The 10 for 2020 included plug-hybrids like the Cadillac CT6 Plug-in and the Buick Velite 5 range-extended EV, but some of those ten China-only models will likely be among the 20 EVs that are part of this latest announcement.

So this latest Bolt-based crossover fits right in. And assuming that’s the case, all we need to know now is what’s under the other 19 covers.


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Big electric truck, cheaper small cars, Fisker solid-state cells, CARB vs EPA: Today's Car News

Hyundai SUV roadmapToday, we’ve got a drive report on the largest electric vehicle we’ve ever piloted, some patents on solid-state batteries from Fisker, California’s powerful air-quality agency expanding, and more deals on smaller cars. All this and more on Green Car Reports. It won’t offer them on the first Fisker EMotion electric luxury sedan, but Henrik Fisker’s…

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