Riversimple Beta Test begins in Abergavenny, Wales

The Riversimple Beta Test began at the end of April and, in true Welsh fashion, it was a very wet afternoon! Four early-stage Beta Testers kindly agreed to preview the Beta Test process – Jeremy, a retired engineer; Roland, an IT Manager; Harriet, a solicitor; and Jayne, a national programme manager. They drove the Rasa Beta on various circuits through and around Abergavenny. 

Beta testing is a term coined by the software world to describe real user, real world testing before public release of a new product or update.  In our case, we are Beta testing both our cars and our service with members of the general public, with a view to refining designs before kicking off volume production.  It is an ambitious goal for a car company and has been a long time coming; technical and Covid-related delays played havoc with our original timing for this all-important trial.

We were pleased how quickly our Beta Testers became familiar and confident with the vehicle, but even more pleased that the Rasa was fun to drive; even though the speed is capped at 60mph, the design of the Rasa Beta made Harriet feel “like a racing driver”,  Jayne described it as “really exciting”. 

As well as engaging with individuals, the Beta Test will include households, car sharing clubs and public organisations such as Monmouthshire County Council as part of their workplace fleet. Our concurrent research into fleets confirms that carbon reduction is high on organisations’ agendas and hydrogen powered vehicles could have a very important role to play.  As the government pushes for the banning of new petrol and diesel  cars, we want to make sure that there is a zero emission choice for those who can’t accommodate or don’t want a battery powered electric car.  Right now it seems that there are still reasons to hesitate, as this research from the AA indicates.

The waiting list for our Riversimple vehicles is growing– from individuals to organisations, there is a real and lively appetite to help Riversimple shape the sustainable driving of the future. 

We look forward to sharing the fun and pleasure of driving the state-of-the-art Rasa Beta with more Beta Testers throughout the year both in Abergavenny, where the test is supported by OZEV (the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) and in Milford Haven, as part of the Milford haven:Energy Kingdom demonstration of smart local energy systems, supported by UKRI (UK research and Innovation Council).


Leon Kamhi joins Riversimple as Investor Custodian

We are thrilled to welcome Leon Kamhi as our new Investor Custodian.  In this role, he will represent our investors’ interests clearly and vocally alongside our other Custodians and help to oversee the delivery of our strategy, using his expertise to guide the Operating Board as we scale up. Our many individual investors voted him into office unanimously.

Leon is Head of Responsibility in the international business of Federated Hermes, a global leader in active, responsible investment with billions under management. He drives the responsibility integration programme across the group, ensuring investment teams are aware of and integrate ESG performance in investment decisions – as well as leading several corporate and public policy engagements.

From Leon’s perspective Riversimple is an innovator in this field; “Riversimple’s innovative and environmentally-friendly approach to personal transport and unique, stakeholder-focused governance structure is sustainability in action. I am excited and privileged to join this progressive enterprise as the Investor Custodian”.

Society as a whole has a stake in Riversimple.

Our Future Guardian corporate governance structure is radically different. We have a total of six Custodians, one to represent the interests of each of our critical stakeholders, namely Investors, the Environment, Staff, Community, Customers and Commercial Partners.  They hold the only voting shares in the company and it is the Board’s fiduciary responsibility to balance and protect the benefit streams of each one.  We are fortunate to have Estelle Clark, who has been advising the IoD, ISO and UKAS on new approaches to corporate governance, to act as Steward.

Nobody is happier to have Leon’s wisdom focused on Riversimple than FD, Chris Foxall, himself an investor in the first instance: “I’m very excited not only to be working in a professional leadership capacity with Leon, whose experience in the area of investor stewardship and corporate responsibility at Federated Hermes is truly impressive, but I’m equally encouraged as an investor that my interests of people, planet and profit will be championed and assured through his role as Riversimple’s Investor Custodian.”