Riversimple Takes On Tesla with the Hydrogen-powered Rasa

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【Summary】Riversimple is in the process of testing the Rasa and plans to release the hydrogen-powered car by 2020.

Michael Cheng    Jun 23, 2018 9:50 AM PT
Riversimple Takes On Tesla with the Hydrogen-powered Rasa

In the past five years, numerous carmakers have vowed to dethrone Tesla as top producer of sustainable vehicles. Most automakers entering the EV sector are attempting to beat Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, at his own game, by releasing a more powerful and cost-effective EV.

Other car manufacturers, like UK-based Riversimple, plan to offer a viable alternative to EVs.

The company is currently working on a hydrogen-powered vehicle that only needs to be refueled once a week (depending on usage). Called the Rasa, the unit releases water as a byproduct through the tail pipe.

Can Riversimple spark a new automotive revolution with the Rasa? Find out below.

Hydrogen-Powered Rasa

The Rasa is designed for busy individuals interested in sustainable transportation. With a range of 300 miles per full tank (3.3 pounds of compressed fuel), the hydrogen-powered car is capable of competing with other EVs on the market today. The eco-friendly vehicle seats two individuals, including the driver. Super capacitors improve driving efficiency, by converting electricity into power during braking maneuvers.

"We're trying to create a movement to bring this to market at a local level," explained Hugo Spowers, Founder and Chief Engineer at Riversimple. "You can create a market for a car with just a single filling station."

"Until the refueling infrastructure exists for hydrogen, then it will always be a bit part player compared to battery electric."

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the technology that underpins the Rasa is its open-source nature. This would allow other automakers interested in the vehicle's design and capabilities to ‘copy' certain parts of the technology. At the moment, Riversimple views open sourcing as a way to support the nascent industry.

Riversimple is in the process of testing the Rasa and plans to release the hydrogen-powered car by 2020. In March, the business launched a funding round, which raised $1.49 million (£1.1 million) and valued the company at $67.4 million (£49.9 million).

New Sales Approach for Modern Drivers

In addition to offering a fresh, retro-inspired design the company intends to implement a cost-effective sales model. According to the company, no one will be able to own its hydrogen-powered vehicles. Instead, it will allow consumers to privately rent its cars, which comes with a monthly payment plan.

The monthly fee includes almost everything customers need to maintain ownership (running costs), such as insurance, maintenance and fuel refills. Essentially, this would mean that most individuals will be issued used vehicles.

When a customer decides he or she does not want to continue renting the car, the unit is returned to the business and revived to its standard condition – ready to be used by another customer. The innovative sales model is a win-win for both sides (the customer and the company).

"We're probably the only car company that hopes never to sell a car," said Spowers.

"They don't have to worry about the maintenance or depreciation. Once the contact expires, the customer gives it back to Riversimple and in theory the firm would be able to hire it out again."

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