Billed as “the only independent hydrogen fuel cell car company in the world”, Riversimple has been bashing away at a far-reaching vision for localised, hydrogen-fuelled transport for almost 20 years. The brainchild of founder Hugo Spowers, Riversimple’s is a complicated and radical vision of how individual transportation could work, far more profound than, say, Tesla, though less generously funded than Elon Musk’s electric car company.
On November 2, the next chapter was revealed in the City of London with the unveiling of the Mark 2 version of the innovative Rasa two-seater, which goes on test in Monmouth next year.
Rasa is a carbon-fibre-bodied fuel cell car. Its name derives from the Latin Tabula Rasa meaning ‘blank slate’, though Riversimple refer to it as a Network Electric Car. With a 8.5kW Hydrogenics fuel cell (which is also used in fork-lift trucks) and 1.5kg of hydrogen stored at 5,000psi, the 580kg Rasa has a range of about 300 miles and takes seconds or minutes to refuel.
With such a small amount of steady state power to draw on, the Rasa relies on a series of ultra capacitors for its acceleration. These can be charged and discharged far more efficiently than even the most modern lithium-ion batteries.