Riversimple Rasa – New Two-Seater Hydrogen Powered Car

MAR 5 2016 BY MARK KANE 25

Riversimple Rasa is pretty small

Riversimple Rasa is pretty small

The Rasa is a new hydrogen fuel cell car, unveiled by the Riversimple Movement, headquartered in Llandrindod Wells in Wales, and developed thanks to £2m grant from the Welsh government in 2015.

It’s pretty small, ultra-light two-seater, which weights only 580 kg (1,279 lbs). Weight (lowered by use carbon composite chassis), size and aerodynamic makes is also fuel-efficient as just 1.5 kg of hydrogen in needed for 300 miles according to press release.

“…every aspect of the Rasa has been tailor-made and interrogated for lightness, strength, affordability and safety, to produce a vehicle that will maximise hydrogen as a fuel source and minimise pollution.”

Later this year Riversimple intends to launch public Beta with 20 cars, while sales could launch in 2018 in “sale of service” model (fixed monthly fee and mileage allowance).

Interesting is also intention to “adopt an open-source approach to its technology and componentry to encourage the proliferation of its technology and economies of scale within the sector

“Riversimple will offer the car to motorists through its unique “sale of service” model. For a fixed monthly fee and mileage allowance, similar in expenditure to leasing and running a new family-sized hatchback, the company will cover all repair, maintenance, insurance and fuel expenses.  Customers will never actually buy the car and experience the burden of depreciation; they will simply exchange or return it at the end of the ownership period.”

Riversimple Rasa

Riversimple Rasa

More about the Rasa:

“When the vehicle is in motion, hydrogen passes through the small 8.5kW fuel cell (the size currently used in forklift trucks, equivalent to 11hp), where it combines with oxygen to form water and electricity to drive the motors positioned in each of the four wheels. More than 50% of the kinetic energy produced under braking is recovered and turned into electricity to boost acceleration via a bank of super-capacitors.  The result is a range of up to 300 miles on 1.5kg of hydrogen, estimated fuel economy equivalent to 250mpg, and a top speed of 60mph.  At around 40g CO2/km, the Riversimple car has the lowest carbon emissions for any vehicle ‘well-to-wheel’, and water is the only output.

Starting later this year, following funding to match a €2m EU grant, Riversimple will be conducting a public 12-month Beta trial of 20 Rasa prototype cars as part of the continued development of the first full production model which will come to market in 2018.  It will be offered to individuals in a strategically planned phased roll-out by region in order to support a low risk, commercially practical introduction of profitable hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.”

Hugo Spowers, Founder of Riversimple Movement Ltd, said:

“The Rasa engineering prototype marks another key milestone in bringing an affordable and highly-efficient hydrogen-powered car to market. We really have started from a clean sheet of paper.  The Rasa gives us the opportunity to introduce customers to a more convenient concept of motoring, a lightness of ownership that neither places a burden on the pockets of motorists or the surrounding environment.  The car is simple, light and fun in every respect.”

Quick specs:

  • total curb weight of just 580 kg (1,279 lbs)
  • up to 300 miles on 1.5kg of hydrogen
  • fuel economy equivalent to 250mpg
  • small 8.5kW fuel cell
  • four electric motors for AWD
  • top speed of 60 mph (nearly 100 km/h)
Riversimple Rasa

Riversimple Rasa

Riversimple Rasa

Riversimple Rasa

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25 Comments on "Riversimple Rasa – New Two-Seater Hydrogen Powered Car"

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Worst of all possible worlds.

If It didn’t look So Silly & If it were a BEV. The concept is Not a bad Idea….So chop chop Boys , back to the drawing board!

Nut, it looks like a nice commuter car that especially women will love.
But it has multiple problems that make it too costly starting with the H2FC system running $15k-20k and $14/kg to make the
Batteries will be cheap as so small a load it would get 200 mile range on 20kwhr at a small fraction of the FC system cost and 10% of the fuel cost.
Next CF use is a bad choice as too expensive and not even the best fibers to use. Kevlar type fabrics with other medium tech FG, etc will make a stronger, lighter body/chassis for 20% of the cost.
A much smarter shape would have been an aero 1 box with space for shopping, etc.

The design is really nice. I just wish it was BEV. Oh well, what can we do? *shrugs*

Fuel cells ARE batteries.

Correct! Hydrogen-air batteries 😉

OK, then show us all how we can fuel it up by plugging into any household 120 or 240 outlet in the convenience of our garage?

Ah, there’s the rub.

Here is a long list of hydrogen home stations:

Seriously, you are fixed on the US surburbia model of everybody having his own single-family home or townhouse with its own garage and oversized SUV that looks like some weird “tank” for people in rest of the world. It isn’t how things work the middle of the London or other bigger cities. Typically you park on the street, or common parking space without any chargers. There are public chargers in some places, but you are not going to leave a car there overnight and go home by foot. Hydrogen allows refills in few minutes.

No Dan they are fueled generators.

AK said, “Oh well, what can we do? *shrugs*” I’m going with the option to chuckle and leave it alone.

Even IF it were to become a commercial success, all it would do is tie you to the oil companies, who I’m sure are hoping hydrogen vehicles take off so they will have a steady income stream after the gas / diesel sales fall off. Remember, the oilies don’t have to stop selling oil completely to feel the pinch. It’s starting to happen now with EV’s and even higher fuel economy traditional vehicles.

Yep, BEV version might be nice. Would be worried about crash safety.

Looks like it’s no Tesla.

The question is WHY would you or they do this.
Will Tesla shares go down after this post?

It’s still interesting because it’s a very efficient car. When less hydrogen is need perhaps electrolysis becomes an option? How would that work out for total carbon emissions of this car?

Also perhaps with such vehicle cheaper hydrogen filling stations become an option.

It doesn’t make me enthusiastic but it’s a much better option than what the OEMs are doing with hydrogen.

I also prefer BEVs but don’t count this vehicle out just because it’s hydrogen. The goal is to lower carbon emissions, remember?

You could even have a tank of hydrogen delivered ever week, to be swapped out of its that small. Imagine that!

kosee said:
“When less hydrogen is need perhaps electrolysis becomes an option?”

Electrolysis is already an option in Denmark. H2 Logic has a 9 station country-wide H2 fueling station network that uses 100% renewable hydrogen produced solely by electrolysis using only renewable electricity. As a side note, while Denmark has recently eliminated its generous tax breaks for EVs, it renewed them for hydrogen FCVs.



Here is the link for Denmark extending for three years the tax exemption for hydrogen FCEVs, while simultaneously phasing out the tax exemption on high-end, long-range BEVs.


I understand why a pro hydrogen site applaud this law, but the reason promoting it doesn’t make much sense.
They put taxation back on long range BEV because those pricey car made high taxes income losses.
But, how did they figure that tax exemption wouldn’t be any different isn’t explain?
Because as far as know, FCEV are also pretty expansive

Wait, let’s make a tiny, funky-looking, city-capable two-seater. That has never been tried before. *Sigh*

It’s not the most useful formfactor, I’ll keep my i-Miev for now.

The moment you loose that raindrop shape the mpg falls like a brick. That said, there is quite a bit of weight gains to be made using crfp plastics.

I was really hoping that with the advances BMW made it would have trickled down to other manufacturers.

At the risk of nitpicking…

It’s “CFRP”: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer.

8.5kW – ridiculous even for the UK.

Are the laws of physics different in Wales?


Then hydrogen powered cars are an insane, counterproductive, wasteful pursuit of a dead end technology there, too.

We need to see how the cost of fuel cells scale with size. Is a small one really much cheaper than what we’ve seen in the Japanese FCEVs? Is it really much lighter? With gas engines, smaller and weaker is not a linear improvement, with batteries it’s pretty linear.

i like it ! lets be open minded ! remember
we will never fly, never get to the moon. FOOL CELLS WILL HAPPEN ! NEED INFRASTRUCTURE