Category: News


Why Hydrogen?

Energy is a troubling subject at the moment as the world grapples with constraints; we have an opportunity to lighten the conversation and answer some questions about hydrogen.

The are two questions about hydrogen that we are frequently asked:

Does it make sense to use green electricity to make green hydrogen?

In our view, the priority has to be to displace as much carbon as possible across the whole energy system. So if the grid can take it, let’s use the green electricity as electricity.

On average, over the last year, 42% of the UK’s electricity came from natural gas, with huge amounts of renewable energy wasted. Not all the renewable electricity can be channelled onto the grid. If the wind is blowing fiercely in Scotland, wind farms may be ‘constrained’, or told to hold back to avoid a traffic jam on the grid. The UK government reportedly paid out £500m+ in constraint payments to renewable energy generators in 2021.

The Grid posts live updates of the UK’s energy demand, updated every 5 minutes.

Though there are various projects looking at it, storing electricity at scale is difficult and there are complex balancing management systems to keep the energy flowing as required. You can store hydrogen. So rather than constraining the wind turbines, we can turn that energy into hydrogen. And then use it to accelerate decarbonisation.

We should also note that there are other green sources of hydrogen. Converting methane into hydrogen is 75% efficient while converting it into electricity is only 49% efficient. So there is less energy wasted in using bio methane to make hydrogen than electricity.

If we make green hydrogen, should it not be dedicated to the ‘hard to abate’ industrial sectors in the first instance?

Well, the ‘easy to abate’ sectors have to be decarbonised too and why not start with the low hanging fruit? Harvest that first and you can then reach further.

‘Easy to abate’ means easy commercially as well as technically, so more likely to happen, more rapidly, with less or no subsidy. Starting where it is easiest (e.g., road transport) also develops the technology and production capacity to bring down the cost for ‘hard to abate’ sectors, which are energy intensive and very cost sensitive. Cars, buses and vans can provide the demand and socialisation that producers are looking for to make their own investments viable. These are exciting times for riversimple as we develop our first production vehicles.  If you are someone that doesn’t want to be tied down by charging times and short ranges then join our waiting list today.

Riversimple’s Purpose is “To pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport.”


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

For over 70 years Her Majesty served as the ultimate steward, guiding our nation through turbulent times and providing a constant vein of hope, positivity and resolve. We send our condolences to the Royal Family and to all those who are mourning at this tough time. Throughout her reign Her Majesty guided our nation through turbulent times and embodied resilience, decency and an unrivaled sense of duty.

We send our sincere condolences to the Royal Family and join the country, commonwealth and world in remembering and honouring a great leader


New Opportunities for Riversimple In Birmingham

New Opportunities for Riversimple In Birmingham! As the Queen’s Baton arrives in Birmingham to mark the start of the 2022 Commonwealth Games we feel honoured to have been part of that journey. Having visited over 72 countries the Queens Baton has united the commonwealth, but it has also highlighted the climate challenges we face. To read more check out our previous blog post.

Rasa's visit the Tyseley refeuler in Birmingham

Birmingham has taken big steps to reduce its carbon footprint and improve its air quality. In 2021 Birmingham City Council introduced the Birmingham Clean Air zone to improve city centre air quality. Shortly after, the Tyseley Energy park opened promoting innovation in waste, energy, and low carbon vehicles including a number of Motive hydrogen refuellers. We recently visited Tyseley with two Rasa’s to obtain certification to use the Motive hydrogen refueler network. The Rasa’s passed with flying colours and we can now refuel at any Motive hydrogen refueler in the UK.

If you live in the Midlands area and visit Birmingham once a week you could be driving a hydrogen car already. If you would like to drive a Riversimple vehicle join our waiting list today.


Riversimple’s Aberdeen Opportunity

Following a recent trip to Aberdeen by Riversimple’s Managing Director, Hugo Spowers MBE and Finance Director, Chris Foxall, we are extremely excited about the potential to develop a manufacturing facility in Aberdeen’s Energy Transition Zone and are actively exploring the possibilities with the city.

Riversimple will be supporting The North East Scotland Green Freeport Consortium in their campaign for freeport status – a Riversimple manufacturing facility would bring 200+ direct jobs, with three times as many in the supply chain. Riversimple’s plans are to build multiple small plants to meet increasing demand rather than to concentrate all activity into a mega factory. The following press release was issued from the Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce: View Press Release



The Riversimple Royal Assignment

With the Commonwealth games starting at the end of this month last weekend we were given a very important task. Transporting the Queen’s baton from Baglan to Margam Park. The Queens Baton embarks on a tour of all the Commonwealth countries prior to the games to unite and celebrate the nations of the Commonwealth. After departing Buckingham Palace on the 7th of October 2021, the baton travelled to 72 countries, from Canada to Tuvalu before returning to the UK for the opening ceremony. The theme of the Welsh leg was sustainability and as a Welsh sustainable hydrogen car company we were asked to carry the Baton from Baglan to Margam Park in South Wales. We deployed 3 Rasas which were driven in formation conveying the Baton 7 miles to its next destination. The footage of the Rasas in formation invokes memories of a certain 1960’s British film involving small British cars carrying valuable cargo driven in formation! Fortunately, we didn’t require the support of a coach as all 3 Rasas travelled were driven from our Llandrindod HQ to Baglan by a few of the Riversimple team. To us this journey of the Queens Baton for the Commonwealth Games has taken on a new dynamic, as well as uniting and celebrating the nations it has visited, this tour highlighted the climate challenges faced by nations within the Commonwealth. Tuvalu, mentioned earlier, is known as the sinking island. It earnt this name as it is set to be first nation to be lost to rising sea levels caused by climate change. Nestled midway between Hawaii and Australia the Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu has a population of just over 11,000 and can only be reached via plane and a single runway that regularly floods with seawater. It relies on financial support from the UN and Commonwealth Secretariat to manage the effects of climate change and preserve what is left of the island. Despite the Commonwealth Games at its core being a sporting event the social and environmental benefits cannot be ignored. Riversimple was established with the purpose of “pursuing, systematically the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport”and highlighting the global challenges of climate change emboldens our cause even more. It was a true honour to be entrusted to carry the Queens Baton and we would like to thank all of those who came to see us, the team who made it happen.


California Calling

California has 13,000+ hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road and 52 filling stations, with planning for over 120. Following a visit late last year as part of a UK government trade mission, we were invited to attend a hydrogen event in April and have joined the California Mobility Centre, which is focused on supporting and enabling innovative mobility companies and start-ups to reach commercialisation. See the press release here. It goes without saying that they would love to see Riversimple established out there, building cars.


The Milford Haven Energy Kingdom – Escape to the coast

We have been demonstrating the value of hydrogen in the Milford Haven Energy Kingdom project, supported by Innovate UK. The project is based at the Port of Milford and has involved implementing a hydrogen refueler and a hydrogen hybrid heating system.

For much of last year, we had a major insurance challenge; we couldn’t allow members of the general public to drive our cars, not exactly conducive for public trials! This was finally resolved and the Riversimple service has been fully operational since mid March with two Rasas based exclusively in Milford Haven.

It has been a great experience for the service team, who are checking vehicle performance daily from the office back in Mid Wales. Last month we attended a community day held by Pembrokeshire County Council with four Rasas and gave passenger rides and tours of the cars to school children, holidaymakers, local residents and heads of industry.

Overall it has been  a fantastic project; the Rasas have accumulated thousands of miles across Pembrokeshire and our Beta testers have provided excellent feedback that will inform the designs of Riversimple vehicles in the future.  It has now officially come to an end, but we’re all hoping to extend it if we can.  A comprehensive report on the business case for installing public facing hydrogen refuelling and the potential value of hydrogen transport to the community is being finalised. In the meantime you can find more information on the Milford Haven Energy Kingdom Project here.


RIP Andre Bird RVM


On Thursday 31st March we said goodbye to one of Riversimple’s dearest friends, Andre Bird RVM.

We have such a lot to thank Andre for. He was a key member of the Riversimple team from 2014 – 2019 and was instrumental in the building and launch of the first road legal car, now known as the Alpha version of the Rasa. In fact, its first real outing was on his birthday in 2016, a freezing -7 degrees Celsius on a January morning – a very big milestone.

Andre then led a roadshow round the UK with the car, so proud of what we were doing and happy to pass on his passion to members of the public. His twinkly eyes would invite even the most timid person to ask questions and he would charm any policeman or traffic warden into allowing us to park the Rasa in impossible places.

As a team we would particularly enjoy the long journeys with the Rasa in a trailer – down to Goodwood for the Festival of Speed, to Cheshire and Hampshire for CarFests North and South, and Derbyshire for a RHS Flower Show at Chatsworth, among many others.

Andre would regale us all the way with stories of his adventures both in F1 and as a crew member on the Queen’s Flight, in which he spent 16 years. There is no question that Andre’s was a life much lived and we very much enjoyed the time that he spent with us. Riversimple is the richer for it.

May he rest in peace.





The Rasa makes waves on the Isle of Man

At the start of 2022 Riversimple received a very special invitation to be guest of honour at the Isle of Man EV Meet Up. On the last weekend of February our grey Rasa crossed the Irish sea and landed on shores of the Isle of Man, ready for its star appearance at the. The organisers were so keen to have the Rasa in attendance the crossing was offered free of charge by the Steam Packet Company. The event was held at the Manx Utilities headquarters in Douglas and was attended by over 50 electric vehicles, With waves of EV and sustainability enthusiasts turning out to see the cars on offer. The Rasa proved to be a hit as it was surrounded by crowds taking pictures and asking questions for the duration of the meeting. We even gave a few passenger rides. There was one theme that remained clear throughout the day, the next generation of zero emission vehicles are coming and hydrogen is going to have a huge part to play.

We made the most of our time on the island taking a tour of the serene coastal and mountain roads which have played host to the infamous Isle of Man TT for over 110 years and visited a few famous landmarks along the way. Overall it was a fantastic weekend and a great opportunity to share the progress we are making on the next generation of zero emission vehicles. The acceptance and understanding of hydrogen as a fuel is better than it has ever been and the demand for a viable alternative to battery vehicles is growing by the day as oil prices soar. A theme that is only going to become evermore pertinent as time goes by.

Join our waiting list here to stay up to date with the latest developments.


The promise of hydrogen: a fast zero emission solution for the forecourt

During the recent 26th United Nations Conference of Parties one theme remained strong throughout the entire two weeks. It is time to transition, move away from subsidising fossil fuels and replace them with renewably-sourced zero emission energy. This is not news in the UK where the government has legislated to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars after 2030. Low Emission Zones are already appearing in cities around the UK and social pressure seems to be rising with huge social movements appearing on social media; the hashtags “sustainability” and “climate change” are among the most used and searched for hashtags of 2021. In terms of powering transport, the focus until fairly recently has been entirely on battery electric vehicles (BEVs). Although we are reminded frequently that sales are increasing rapidly, despite being on sale for almost a decade, BEV’s have only accounted for 7.2% of new car sales in 2021. The public appears reluctant to switch to BEVs, in conversation we often hear people say “ I suppose I ought to get a BEV”. They seem to be waiting and hoping for something better. If they can put it off for long enough, maybe something better will come along.

In August the UK Government published its hydrogen strategy, committing to investment in hydrogen technology and production infrastructure. The potential for hydrogen as a fuel for transport to replace petrol and diesel on the forecourt is promising. Hydrogen refuelling is extremely similar to conventional refuelling; customers arrive and use a pump to dispense hydrogen into their vehicles. Unlike a BEV where recharging will take 20+ minutes, a customer can refill in under 5 minutes.
In our view, customers deserve a choice of zero emission car that doesn’t rely on batteries. Battery cars for medium to long range vehicles may never be affordable to the majority of car users, as 80% of the cost of batteries is in the raw materials and for those without the ability to charge at home, or who cannot afford the downtime required for charging during the day, hydrogen provides a viable zero emission alternative.

There is however a conundrum that presents itself to both retailers and customers. Current hydrogen infrastructure is sparse, meaning hydrogen car sales are very low, because hydrogen car sales are low, retailers seem reluctant to make the investment into hydrogen infrastructure. This is a notion we all know as “Chicken and Egg”. The government is suggesting that HGVs are a logical first step in creating demand and proposing depot refuelling, but this does not resolve the chicken and egg conundrum and is likely to be limited in its uptake. For hydrogen-powered HGVs to be produced in the volumes required to make them affordable, a national refueling network will be required to make long distance travel viable. Cars on the other hand only require local hydrogen provision in the first instance, with a phased rollout model across the retail network in parallel with the cars. As a sustainable hydrogen car manufacturer Riversimple is focusing on an approach that concentrates demand for local hydrogen refuelling. Our first car is designed to be a local car for short to medium journeys in and around the local area. We will be undertaking a local roll out model, releasing a batch of vehicles in a particular locality and working with petroleum retailers in that locality to ensure there is a use case for the investment into hydrogen. With the push for zero emission vehicles becoming ever more prominent, local governments, businesses and authorities are all looking to encourage and support such transitions in terms of infrastructure. We are working with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles to promote the needs for more hydrogen infrastructure funding to be made available by the UK government.

It is clear that standing by and failing to transition to alternative fuels for transport is not an option for retailers or consumers. Demand for fossil fuels will start to diminish as legislation and societal changes start to limit their use cases. While BEV technology will satisfy some needs, customers will need a choice if the shift to zero emissions is to happen. Maintaining independence and freedom of movement is vital and hydrogen has an important role to play. We look forward to seeing hydrogen pumps appearing on more forecourts, alongside battery charging stands.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]