Riversimple – makers of the hydrogen fuel cell Rasa, a car that emits just a spoonful of water – has been awarded two grants worth £325,000. The grants were announced at the UK’s premiere low carbon vehicle event, LCV2016, in association with Cenex, held at Millbrook, Milton Keynes.
A grant of £200,000, to work in collaboration with engineering company Presreg and the University of South Wales, will be used to develop a hydrogen container manifold and regulators for use in niche hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. This means that hydrogen components can be made in the UK – rather than overseas, helping to create jobs and set up a national supply chain.
The innovative car maker is also part of a consortium with NetComposites and KS Composites that has been awarded funding worth £125,000 to develop a bio-carbon fibre made from flax, helping to reduce noise vibration and cost. If adopted by niche and mainstream car makers this new technology could lead to the creation of 7,000 jobs and generate revenues of £520 million a year.
Hugo Spowers of Riversimple said: “The two grants will enable us to further refine our components and ensure that we can make more of the parts in the UK in the future, which is great news for local communities.”
Riversimple were also runners up for the national award for Low Carbon Innovation by a SME at the Low Carbon Champions Awards, an event set up to celebrate achievement and innovation in low carbon road transport. It was a far cry from its appearance at last year’s show, where Riversimple unveiled the chassis of the Rasa car, now believed to be the greenest car currently on the road and weighing just 580kg.
The Rasa spent 15 years in development by a team that includes ex-F1 and aerospace engineers and former Fiat design chief, and was launched in the spring to huge acclaim.
The company has since started crowdfunding to build 20 cars for a public trial in 2017, before starting commercial production in 2018. The two-seater Rasa has a range of 300 miles and refills in a few minutes. It will be offered on a total service arrangement, similar to the cost of a family hatchback, with the cost of fuel included making it an affordable alternative. The Rasa is seen here travelling at night in London.