|Specs at a glance: Riversimple Rasa|
|Body type||2-seat, 3-door hatchback|
|Power source||8.5kW Hydrogenics hydrogen fuel cell|
|Transmission||Four wheel-mounted electric motors|
|Power||16kW continuous (55kW peak)|
|Torque||4x 60Nm continuous (170Nm peak)|
|Chassis||Carbon composite monocoque with aluminium crash structure|
|Bodywork||Self-coloured thermoplastic panels|
|Steering||Unassisted rack and pinion|
|Suspension||Double wishbone (front)
Semi-trailing arm (rear)
|Top speed||60mph (97km/h)|
|0-60mph||Under 10 seconds|
|Fuel tank capacity||1.5kg (hydrogen)|
|Extra power storage||1.9MJ (lithium-ion hybrid capacitors)|
|Rated max range||300 miles (485km)|
|Dimensions||3673mm (144.6in) x 1630mm (64.1in) x 1332 (52.4in) (LWH)|
An industrial estate on the outskirts of a sleepy spa town in deepest Powys, Wales, may not strike you as the obvious place to find an ambitious little hydrogen vehicle maker with plans to revolutionise the way we power, drive, and own our cars. But it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise.
Why not? Well, if you drive seventy-five miles to the south-west from Riversimple’s HQ in Llandrindod Wells, you end up in Swansea, once the home of William Robert Grove who in 1842 pretty much invented the hydrogen fuel cell. And it’s a hydrogen fuel cell that part-powers the Rasa, Riversimple’s funky little two-seater prototype.
“Part-powers?” I hear you ask. While the majority of electric and hydrogen cars currently on the market are essentially conventional designs with battery or fuel-cell-and-battery power sources, the Rasa—the name comes from tabula rasa, the Latin for blank or clean slate—is the result of altogether more clever thinking. I’m inclined to use a word I usually avoid like the plague—holistic—to describe Riversimple’s view of automotive design.