Riversimple Movement has unveiled the Rasa, a hydrogen-powered two-seater vehicle that has a range of up to 300 miles on 1.5 kilograms of hydrogen, for a fuel economy equivalent of 250 miles per gallon.
The unveiling of the Rasa involved a road-legal prototype that the company has developed, supported by the Welsh government that gave the company a £2 million ($2.8 million) grant last year.
According to Riversimple, the Rasa was designed with lightness, safety, strength and affordability in mind, creating a hydrogen-powered car that will minimize pollution.
Tech website T3 was even able to take the prototype out for a spin, with writer Robert Jones saying that the ride was a little on the noisy side. However, T3 was still impressed with the working prototype, which was able to reach a top speed of 60 miles per hour, weighed only 580 kilograms and only had 18 moving parts in its powertrain.
The vehicle works by having hydrogen pass through an 8.5-kilowatt fuel cell, which is capable of pushing out 11 horsepower. The hydrogen then combines with oxygen to create water and electricity to power the motors of the vehicle's four wheels.
Riversimple also said that the Rasa recovers over 50 percent of the kinetic energy produced when braking, with the energy converted into electricity that is stored in super capacitors that can help in the vehicle's acceleration.
The next question for potential customers after knowing what the Rasa is capable of is how drivers would be able to obtain fuel and service for the vehicle. The answer is through the unique "sale of service" model Riversimple will be employing for the hydrogen-powered car.
Through the model, customers will be charged a fixed monthly fee and mileage allowance, which is similar to having them lease and operate a new vehicle. For the fees, Riversimple will be covering all the fuel, repair, maintenance and insurance expenses of the Rasa, so customers will not technically purchase the car. The Rasa can then be simply exchanged or returned to Riversimple at the agreed upon end of the service agreement.
Riversimple will be launching a public 12-month beta trial for the Rasa later this year involving 20 prototypes, and the company looks forward to the release of the first full production model Rasa by 2018.