BMW have this week announced plans to build a pilot fleet of their iX5 hydrogen cars to be used as demonstrators, with some loaned to a handful of real-world customer drivers to get feedback. Sounds familiar?
Our Rasas have been built specifically for this purpose. We caught up with Beta tester Ben to talk about his experience. We delivered his Rasa at the start of December and in just 3 weeks, Ben covered over 650 miles.
“It slotted in well to my lifestyle, it was easier to live with than a petrol or diesel car and cheaper too!” Ben paid full price for his time with the Rasa and found the subscription cost competitive with his secondhand, diesel BMW. “Knowing that all the costs are taken care of, the car is covered if there are any issues, you don’t need to worry about when insurance is due etc. means you can just enjoy driving the thing.”
Despite the Rasa’s racy appearance Ben found it to be quite practical. “There wasn’t a moment I wished it was more practical, it could fit in far more shopping than I would ever be likely to buy, the doors make getting in and out really easy and the size of the car meant it was very easy to park.” One of the key benefits of our hydrogen vehicles is the ability to refill very quickly. It takes just 5 minutes to refill a Rasa from empty to full, the cost of which is included in our subscription model. Ben’s experience of refuelling was very much one of ease. “It’s really easy, you rock up, attach the nozzle, put in the code and the car refills, there’s no need to keep your hand squeezing the trigger and there is definitely no coming away smelling of fuel. It’s the perfect way to drive an eco-friendly car without having to compromise on convenience.” Ben’s 650 miles cost him just over £140 and included fuel, tyres, insurance, road tax and maintenance. “My mileage fee worked out cheaper than running my diesel BMW, and that’s just in the fuel! I dread to think what it would be like if I worked out the insurance and maintenance costs.”
“Driving something as eye-catching as the Rasa certainly did attract a lot of attention. Wherever I went people asked to take pictures and wanted to know more. I was proud to be representing Riversimple and the hydrogen car industry. One thing I was asked about a lot was the safety of hydrogen. Once I explained it was actually believed to be safer by the authorities than running a petrol car, they were suddenly very interested.”
We believe that cars should be fun to drive as well as sustainable, the Rasa is super lightweight, has direct steering and instant torque. “Quite often I was the fastest car on a twisty road. Although limited to the speed limit, the Rasa grips to the road like no car I’ve ever driven. It was fantastic fun to drive and the best bit was that it was all guilt and worry free, no impact on the environment and no worries about the running costs.” ‘Guilt-free’ is a sentiment and aspiration that we’re working towards systematically. We’re working with others to encourage green hydrogen and are involved in a new European-led consortium looking to increase the recyclability of carbon fibre materials.
As a Beta test customer we asked Ben to be totally honest about any issues he found with the car and to tell us what he felt was missing. After all, the purpose of our Beta testing is to inform our production vehicle designs to ensure that our first production vehicles serve the needs of our customers. “Overall there wasn’t much I felt it missed out on, it would be nice to have parking sensors, perhaps somewhere to put your phone and central locking but, for me, that’s about it. I think it’s a brilliant little car and the heated windscreen was a nice surprise feature, especially on cold December mornings!”. We are working to make cars like this an everyday reality for people and investors play a vital part in that. So if you’re not already on board, now is a good time to take action and invest. For a lucky few investors, we may be able to organise an adventure with a Rasa this summer. We’re taking 3 Rasas on the EV London to Paris rally in early July. Watch this space!