There is a story about the original design brief for the 2 CV. It was written in the 1930s when much of France was still rural farmland and in the brief it was stipulated that
“it should be a car that you can drive across a ploughed field while it’s loaded up with trays of eggs, without breaking the eggs”. This idea touches upon something important to us all. It’s about having a car that becomes part of the way we live. At Riversimple we have been busy designing that car. We think of it as a local car.
We agreed, from the pivotal here’s a blank piece of paper stage – that our ambitions were not to be watered down, nor our values swept aside. Our small, but exceptional, team of engineers and system designers were here to create something special. This car would have to be tailored for the lives we live and the times we live in. Modern technology is not a blunt instrument. Tailoring a new kind of car was to be done selectively and with integrity:
It should be a local car – taking into account all the journeys that we make, including a sort of incidental, unconscious mileage for fetching a pint of milk or dropping off a last minute birthday present.
This means that it should be efficient to use for short journeys, unlike typical petrol cars with a catalytic converter. A catalytic converter functions within the range of 430 °C to 650 °C. Consequently, on short local journeys it never gets warm enough and works inefficiently. We don’t think this is good enough.
It should not produce any noxious emissions like a diesel car, nor should it take an age to refuel like a battery electric vehicle. So we would like it to be powered by a small hydrogen fuel cell.
The bodywork should be streamlined … beautifully crafted … it should flow. This car should look lovely at home in our drive. Or along our lane. Or at the beach on a sunny day. Or at the races. Or at the train station.
The car chassis should be extremely strong but lightweight, because extra weight takes a toll on fuel consumption.
We would like this car to accelerate briskly to 55 -60 miles per hour. While still being very fuel-efficient. We want a nippy car that doesn’t cause pollution.
It should be a car fit for the future, not just an old design with a few modern add-ons. To celebrate our new car, we will require enough room in the boot for some crates of wine.
It will not be an urban car – it will be a local car. In fact, it should be so inherently local that it is actually made in this country, creating interesting local jobs and local prosperity.
That’s the brief.
In the New Year we will introduce you to the car.