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Riversimple Rasa

Riversimple is a United Kingdom-based car manufacturer of hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). It is based in Llandrindod Wells, a town in Wales, where there is a research & development centre and the company's offices. Additionally the company has a design studio in Barcelona in Spain. Riversimple was founded by former motorsport engineer and racing driver Hugo Spowers.[1]

In 2016 the company were awarded an £125,000 grant as part of a consortium to develop a composite material made from flax and carbon fibers which they will use in the Rasa vehicle.[2]

Riversimple has a diverse team which includes those with F1, motor racing, yacht design, engineering and automotive design backgrounds. They work between the design studio in Barcelona and the R&D centre in Llandrindod Wells.

Business model[edit]

The Riversimple mission statement is: “To pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport." Their business model is called a "Whole System Design", which has an alternative governance structure and puts stakeholders, sustainability and profitability at the core of the business. Riversimple aim to create strategically placed, smaller-scale manufacturing plants (producing 5,000 cars each per year) as opposed to traditional, large-scale factories, citing profitability, sustainability and higher quality products at lower risk. Riversimple are advocates of a circular economy.

Until 2014 the head office was in Ludlow, England. The offices were located at Dinham, by the River Teme, which gave the business its name.

The Riversimple company designs energy-efficient automobiles, including the Morgan LIFEcar and the Riversimple Urban Car.[3] Several elements are considered during each design, including hydrogen fuel cell power sources, lightweight carbon fibre composite materials, open source development and design, leasing instead of selling the cars, distributing manufacturing among many small companies, and broad corporate ownership.[4]


Riversimple unveiled their working prototype, the two-seat Rasa (from Tabula Rasa, which means cleans 'clean slate' in Latin) on 17 February 2016[5] after 15 years in production. (Their first version was known as the Riversimple Urban Car). The Rasa has been designed by renowned car designer Chris Reitz,[6] who styled the new Fiat 500. The Rasa has a range of 300 miles on 1.5kg of hydrogen, and achieves the equivalent of 250mpg with a top speed of 60mph. Emissions are zero at tailpipe (just water vapour) and c.40gCO2/km Well-to-Wheel. Hydrogen refuelling for the Rasa takes three minutes.

It has an 8.5 kW hydrogen fuel cell, a 1.9MJ lithium-ion hybrid capacitor set, and a motor in each wheel with a combined 16kW continuous power and 55kW peak power.[7]

The Rasa is an open source vehicle. Riversimple cite the reason for this as wanting to work towards common goal of reducing environmental damage.

Beta testing[edit]

With further crowdfunding and investment opening in March 2016 to match their €2m EU grant, Riversimple will begin a 20 car beta test[8] with customers late 2016 with plans to offer the car to customers on a subscription, sale-of-service model by 2018.


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