Category: News


A Riversimple Rasa for Rowan Atkinson?

Actor and car enthusiast Rowan Atkinson has given strong support for hydrogen-powered vehicles while also saying that as an electric-car owner he feels ‘duped’ in retrospect by the business model and life-cycle of the electric car.

With two degrees in engineering-related subjects, plus a collection of supercars and a life-long passion for cars, ‘Mr Bean’ is qualified to give a knowledgeable and considered opinion, being a hybrid ‘early adopter’ 18 years ago and moving to a full electric car nine years ago.

Atkinson’s verdict is nothing short of an indictment of the whole electric-car business model as a vast waste of environmental and economic resources.

In his article in The Guardian, Atkinson highlights hydrogen ‘as an alternative fuel’, adding that the development of ‘green hydrogen’ has a long way to go. The development of synthetic fuels needs also to be researched, he says, while adding:’if hydrogen wins the race to power trucks – and as a result every filling-station stocks it – it could be a popular and accessible choice for cars’.

Read Rowan Atkinson’s article here:


Riversimple’s mission to drive down emissions

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) transport emissions account for 24% of global air pollution, and as such, have a significant impact on the quality of the air we breathe. With more stringent regulations and advancements in automotive technology, we are seeing a decrease in exhaust pollutants from vehicles. However there is also a lesser known category of emissions that are currently not regulated and according to Emissions Analytics could be up to 1000 times worse than diesel emissions. They are Non Exhaust Emissions (NEE’s). Non exhaust emissions are the pollutants released into the atmosphere from sources other than exhaust pipes. These emissions can come from tyres, brakes and other sources. Tyres are a major source of non-exhaust emissions, as they generate particulate matter which is harmful to both human health and the environment. Brakes also produce non-exhaust emissions in the form of brake dust, which can be a source of air pollution. As a sustainable car company we believe it is vital to raise awareness of non-exhaust emissions and take measures in the design of our vehicles to reduce them and protect our environment.

The single most controllable factor that we can manipulate to manage NEE’s is vehicle weight. It is well documented that the more weight a vehicle has, the more force tyres and brakes are subjected to and the more they wear. Battery electric vehicles tend to weigh far more than the average internal combustion engined vehicle, in fact the battery Smart Car weighs 1160kg, over 25% more than the traditionally powered variant which weighed 805kg when it was released in the early 2000s. Riversimple vehicles are designed from the outset to weigh very little. Our Rasa beta cars weigh just 655kg, thanks to our lightweight vehicle and powertrain architecture. Composites materials allow us to build a car with a lightweight structure. The entire monocoque chassis of the Rasa weights just 70kg. By designing our vehicles to be ultra lightweight we can dramatically reduce our non exhaust emissions. The tyres on the Rasa are just 115mm wide to reduce rolling resistance as much as possible. On traditional vehicles fitting tyres this narrow would negatively affect vehicle dynamics and safety but because the Rasa is so lightweight there are no negative side effects of running narrow tyres.

Braking in Rasa is managed predominantly by our 4 bespoke in-wheel motors, our production vehicles friction brakes will only be used in emergency situations. By not relying on friction brakes for the majority of the time while driving we can almost eliminate brake particulate emissions during normal driving scenarios. The ability to use our motors for most of the braking events is part of a wider regenerative braking system. When the Rasa brakes it recoups kinetic energy and stores it in a bank of very efficient supercapacitors. As a sustainable car company our mission is to “pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport”. Everything we do – the design of the car, the structure of the business, the people we work with – is in pursuit of this goal.  A “Whole System Design” approach ensures that every step we take, every investment we make, gets us closer to our end goal. 

As a sustainable car company our mission is to “pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport”. Everything we do – the design of the car, the structure of the business, the people we work with – is in pursuit of this goal.  A “Whole System Design” approach ensures that every step we take, every investment we make, gets us closer to our end goal.



Riversimple is a partner in a new European research project, REPOXYBLE – Depolymerizable bio-based multifunctional closed loop recyclable epoxy systems for energy efficient structures

We are delighted to announce that we are part of a new project called REPOXYBLE, funded by Horizon Europe. There are 15 partners spanning 8 countries and
the project aims to develop a new class of high-performance advanced materials targeting cost and energy effectiveness, recyclability, and thus sustainability, for the aerospace and automotive sector.
Advanced materials play a key role in manufacturing fuel-efficient and high-performing vehicles, but poor recyclability and end-of-life aspects pose a significant challenge. This is where REPOXYBLE comes in: minimising resource demand and energy of manufacturing processes, using bio-based and safe (non-toxic) raw materials and optimising chemical recycling.
At Riversimple, we are working systematically towards the elimination of environmental impact of personal transport and have been keen to explore recyclable/reusable carbon composites for our lightweight chassis. This is an exciting start!



Thank you to all our investors for taking us to our target and beyond

Yesterday we reached 100% of our crowdfunding target. A huge thank you! Every investment gets us a step closer to making sustainable personal transport a reality. Beyond the financial opportunity, we sense a great desire to see this revolution happen – the winter weather today just underlines the need for affordable and reliable zero emission cars.
We like the snow. The cold weather doesn’t affect our range and we have the advantages of plenty of ground clearance, a totally smooth undertray, light weight and 4 wheel drive.


Would you like to see your name emblazoned on the next set of vehicles?

A big thank you to all who have contributed to getting us to 90% of the target! We celebrate the support of every single one of our investors. When our only road legal car was the Rasa Alpha in 2017, we proudly wore the names of all those who supported us in a big H2 on the bonnet of the car.
Below is a video of what our entire Beta fleet shows when each car is turned off. The names of all of our supporters who wished to be recognised are proudly listed. Over the tens of thousands of miles driven by our engineering team and Beta trialists, each and every driver is reminded of the special group of people who have made our revolutionary cars a reality.
We will be offering the same recognition again for the next set of vehicles. Would you like your name included? If you haven’t done so, we would love you to invest and join us for the next stage in the Riversimple journey as we gear up to develop the production cars.


The Riversimple Customer Experience

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!




Riversimple receives an MBE – an update from the Comms team

On Tuesday Riversimple founder and MD Hugo Spowers was at Windsor Castle to receive his MBE for Services to Technology, awarded as part of the late Queen’s birthday honours in June last year.

While this MBE is by its nature a personal award, Hugo represents the whole Riversimple team, whose expertise and dedication to technological innovation have been outstanding in an astonishing number of areas; hydrogen fuel cell powertrain development, motor design, composites, safety-critical software, telematics, as well as blockchain R&D as part of our Circular Economy innovation.
Below is a short film capturing some of the technical progress over the last few years.

This week we were also featured in the Guardian, courtesy of Barclays who support the Unreasonable Impact programme of which we are part.…


Element 2 COO James Harris visits Riversimple.

 In July 2022 we announced a partnership with Element 2 on the supply and distribution of hydrogen and yesterday we hosted James Harris, Chief Operations Officer, of Element 2.

James is bullish about the future: “Our national network of hydrogen refuelling stations continues to grow apace. Our relationships with innovative OEMs such as Riversimple are vital in informing the design and timing of our station rollout. We continue to work closely with manufacturers, transport operators and fleet owners to identify and develop sites, supporting hydrogen vehicle adoption across the country to accelerate Net Zero, and enable greater choice for road users.”

Element 2 has already established strategic hydrogen refuelling sites along critical junction routes in the North West, North East and South of England, deploying mobile refuelling solutions in addition to beginning the build process for permanent refuelling stations.

They will be taking over the Riversimple Abergavenny refueller with plans to scale it up to deliver more hydrogen. Element 2’s network of safe, high-quality hydrogen refuelling stations will cover the entire country by 2027.


A new – and significant – Riversimple patent!

We have just been granted a patent for manufacturing carbon fibre components through a braiding process that we have developed here at Riversimple. This allows us to make hollow components, of varying cross-section with bends in different axes, for elements of the structure such as the ring around the door.

Although braiding is not new in its own right – it is how socks are woven – the particular novelty of this process is that we can make a tubular component with a cross-section that includes a negative feature, necessary for locating the door seal. This semi-automated process has no wastage and ensures conformity of production – the guarantee that each chassis is identical, so will perform the same in crash tests.

Incidentally, we are also joint patentees on the core motor patents of YASA Ltd, which was acquired by Mercedes in 2021. The original YASA motors were developed as part of our LIFECar project with Morgan, our first fuel cell car shown at Geneva in 2008.



The future of the UK car industry

With the collapse of British Volt in the headlines and the news of over 300 direct jobs being lost and hundreds more at risk in the supply chain, it would be easy to assume the future of the zero emission car industry in the UK is bleak.  Can you produce a zero emission car without batteries? Here at Riversimple we are making strides in developing affordable, sustainable hydrogen cars and will have no need for batteries. 

Our Rasa cars are being enjoyed by both Beta testers and members of the team. You can imagine the excitement when we woke to a blanket of soft powdery snow that had fallen on Mid Wales overnight. It’s rare that we have snow in the UK, let alone enough to conduct proper winter testing of our Rasas. As a super lightweight car with slim tyres and permanent 4 wheel drive provided by in-wheel motors, we had always suspected the Rasa could be really rather good in the snow but have never had the opportunity to find out, so we made sure it was put to good use.

First we tested the dynamics and durability of our unique Axle Guardian powertrain management software by trying to trip it up. We began by sliding sideways around the car park. We couldn’t confuse it no matter how hard we tried. We then conducted a standing race start to test how well the Rasas put down their traction. The answer, very well indeed. All four cars leapt away from a standstill with no issues at all. 

We decided to take to the hills surrounding Llandrindod Wells to see how they performed in the snow in “in real life” scenarios. Our first stop was the Llandrindod Wells golf club, one of the highest in Wales and located at the top of a steep, twisty road. We were met with stunning panoramic views of the valley below. Of course what goes up must come down and the Rasa made its way back down the hill effortlessly, despite the weather conditions. We even managed to get a few snaps of it in its new favourite environment.

The Rasa’s prowess in the snow is not only a demonstration of what fun they are to drive, but also of an alternative solution to zero emission cars. The development of lightweight, agile and capable vehicles at an affordable price is possible here in the UK – we’re proving that. There are no waiting times to recharge, simply fill up at a pump in 5 minutes. Our production cars will have a range of over 300 miles that doesn’t drastically reduce when the temperature drops and you’ll be able to go out to play whenever the weather smiles on you like this.  

These are very exciting times for Riversimple and as we get ready to launch our next crowdfunding round, the momentum and our waiting list is growing by the day. If you would like to support us on our journey to production then you can find out more here.