Crowdfunding fuels building of hydrogen cars

By Gem Childe on 11th Apr 2017

Riversimple

Welsh firm Riversimple, exceeded its crowdfunding campaign target of £1m which means the UK trial of the cars that only emit water can go ahead.

The company is the world's only independent hydrogen fuel cell vehicle manufacturer. Its founder Hugo Spowers said: “I am delighted that we have not only passed our first tranche target of £1m, but the interest was so keen that we exceeded that figure.

“This very definite endorsement demonstrates people’s growing desire to be able to travel in a sustainable way and to start to address the catastrophic effects of pollution and global warming, while losing none of the joy of driving a responsive, beautifully-crafted car."

Its two-seater Rasa model is designed by a team that includes ex-F1 and aerospace engineers and the former FIAT design chief. It drives at a top speed of 60mph, boasts a range of 300 miles, refills in around three minutes and also generates kinetic energy recaptured from braking. It also has a CO2 efficiency rating of 40g/km.

Riversimple is teaming up with Monmouthshire County Council in Wales to run a 12-month trial of the Rasa. Designs for a four-seater car and a light goods vehicle will be further developed once the Rasa is commercially available in 2019.

More than £4m has already been awarded for Rasa in grants from organisations including the Welsh Government & the EU. The model will be available via an affordable, all-inclusive subscription ‘sale of service’ model, like a mobile phone contract, in line with consumer attitude shift to ‘servitisation’.

Mr Spowers said: “We know from feedback from Riversimple investors that they are particularly interested in our subscription model, which aligns profitability, longevity, quality and sustainability. But the secret is also that the Rasa is a desirable car. It’s sporty, incredibly fun to drive, elegantly styled and has turned heads all over the world.”

Riversimple plans to boost hydrogen infrastructure in the UK by developing communities of users around each filling station. Over the next 20 years, it aims to build a network of manufacturing plants that will regenerate communities and create thousands of jobs.