Category: Sustainability

23
May

RIVERSIMPLE ACCELERATES IN DUBAI

Riversimple has just returned from a two-month accelerator project in Dubai – an initiative that has seen the Rasa and our philosophy embraced by a completely different culture living in a much harsher environment. 

The timing wasn’t great, with 20 Beta test cars to get built in Wales, but when the Dubai Future Foundation, headed by Dubai’s Crown Prince, invited us to take part in the 4th Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA) programme, we jumped at the chance. We were sponsored  by a powerful government department: the Road and Transport Authority (RTA).

The view from the top of the Emirates Towers

Dubai is a place like no other. It laid its first modern brick in 1973 and is now a city state of 3 million thoroughly multicultural people. Furthermore, it continues to expand at a furious pace. Despite its terrible air quality, mad traffic issues and paradoxical desire to be environmentally friendly, there are 27,000 building projects on the go as we write and the skyscape is a sea of cranes.

The DFA is designed to enable businesses to develop technologies and proposals far quicker than would ever normally be the case. Companies taking part (37 in our ‘Cohort’, selected from 677 applicants) are hosted in the Government’s offices to allow for accelerated processes, hence the DFA’s tag-line: ‘pulling the future forward faster’.

The entrance to our office

Dubai is unashamedly determined to be quickest, boldest, biggest, highest, cleverest and altogether ‘the mostest’, not only among other Emirate states but also among all countries of the world. It also happens to be one of the hottest and dustiest places, humid and salty, so pretty tough for the Rasa. But that provides the perfect opportunity for us to ‘accelerate’ our technology development for much more extreme climates. We want to bring a Whole System Design approach to developing both a highly efficient cabin cooling system and  fuel cell cooling technologies. That done, the Rasa and its descendants could operate in a far wider, much warmer market.

So, for the past 8 weeks, a revolving team of Riversimple personnel have been in the DFA offices investigating how the RTA – and other independents – could embrace not only the hydrogen economy, but also our technology, circular economy business model, and a culture of ultimate efficiency.

We have met with around 80 different interested parties, exploring opportunities with R&D establishments, data specialists, blockchain experts, niche vehicle builders, financiers, transport companies (not least the RTA themselves), energy suppliers and distributors, entrepreneurs and developers, the EXPO 2020 organisers, and a host of national and federal government officials. The Welsh Government were there to support. It was a rollercoaster of dialogue and investigation and the result is an agreement with the RTA to progress our agenda, ultimately – we hope – building a dedicated Dubai-friendly prototype.

So, in the land of big cars with big wheels and big engines we are pleased to report that our championing of the hydrogen future, our circular economy model and all things Rasa have found synergy. And if small can be recognised as beautiful there, it can be anywhere.

Our grateful thanks are due to the Dubai Future Accelerators (in particular our Project Manager Faisal Kazim and Program Managers Karin Gabriel and Abdallah Kanaan), the Future team of the RTA (in particular the wonderfully enthusiastic and technically-savvy Mohamed Saleh Al Shareef), and our friends and advisors Kyle Weber, Dr Alessandro Zampieri and Mohamed and Abdulsalam Haykal).

28
Jul

One of our favourite words: USERSHIP

An Energy Services Company or ESCo, is a particular kind of company, especially popular in Scandinavia, that sells energy and heating services to customers.  For example, an ESCo can arrange to install a lovely, warm, state-of-the-art biomass boiler for your home or business.  They will cover the upfront capital costs of the project, as well as the management, delivery and storage of the fuel supply.  And they will carry out regular maintenance of the boiler.

Simply put, this means that ESCo customers don’t have to find large amounts of capital to buy a new boiler or heating system.  It also means that the hassle of installation, maintenance, ordering fuel etc. is shouldered by the service provider and the whole lot is wrapped in one package.  It’s a good example of what we mean by the word Usership.

At Riversimple, we apply the same basic principle to cars.  Our business model replaces car ownership with a sale of service package.  There are a number of logical reasons for this.  First of all, it’s more sustainable.  Secondly, it makes the technology affordable. And thirdly, sale of service takes away the hassle of ownership without the limitations of a car share scheme (though we love those too).

We firmly believe that the world is more than ready for the concept of Usership.  For a start, Usership is simpler. Riversimple customers won’t have to remember to get the car serviced, renew the tax, find the best insurance deal etc. And they won’t have to shoulder the considerable burden of depreciation. These things add nothing to the pleasure of driving a good car.

We’ve said it before. The Riversimple Rasa will not be for sale. We offer people an option to say goodbye to hidden costs and unwanted hassle – Usership – because, as Brecht would say “To live means to finesse the processes to which one is subjugated.”

22
Jun

GETTING REAL ABOUT AIR POLLUTION

We loved a recent tweet about Riversimple Rasa “I’d rather be cycling behind one of these.”

Cyclists on British roads sit on the frontline of traffic pollution.  It’s pretty unfair really, since they are not the ones responsible for that pollution.

Being able to travel from A to B is a fundamental part of modern life.  But then again breathing good quality air is pretty fundamental too!  The evolution of the car is a marvelous story, but our love affair with the combustion engine is slowly coming to an end.  Cleaner cars are on their way.  Just take a look around a busy parking lot and you will see how rapidly we are shifting to alternative fuels – cleaner, greener, better.

At Riversimple we are 100% with that cyclist.  None of us want to breathe in a cocktail of pollutants that include nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide; carbon monoxide, and the heavy particulates associated with smog.

RASA TECHNOLOGY

As with all battery electric and fuel cell electric vehicles, the Rasa emits zero nasty emissions at the tail pipe, but a recent report published by Peter Achten and Victor Timmers of Edinburgh University highlights the problem of particulate emissions.  These emissions can come from the tyres and brakes as well as engines.  In fact, now that filters are so good, even diesel cars emit more particulates from tyres and brakes than from the engine.  According to the Achten/Timmers report, because many electric vehicles are heavier than combustion-engined cars, they emit higher levels of particulates.
The Riversimple answer is to go deeper into the design.REAR QUARTER SMOOTHED

The Rasa is strong but light – less than a third of the weight of the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car.  This minimises any particulate emission from the tyres, because emissions are proportional to weight.  But even more significantly, the braking system for the Rasa is primarily electrical, rather than dependent on friction.

There are only two instances when the Rasa production model will rely upon friction brakes:

–           emergency stops, anything over 0.3g

–           below 5mph, when there is not enough braking torque

So the only regular release of brake particulates would be when braking at speeds below 5 mph.  However, as our engineers will tell you, the quantity of particulate release from friction braking is proportional to the kinetic energy of the car when you start braking.  At 5mph, the kinetic energy of the car is less than 0.7% that at 60mph.  In other words, particulates not a problem.

SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST

In the wild, animals have a deep- seated ability to react to stimulus.  And in the longer term whole species can adapt to change through the process of natural selection.  It’s a simple, obvious thing – organisms that do not react, do not survive for long.

A similar ability to react is needed in industry.  Air pollution levels are unacceptable and some levels recorded are breaking regulations.  Changing the regulations, put there to protect our health, is no solution.

The businesses that are fittest for the times will survive and thrive.  Great news for people who breathe air.  Bad news for dirty, polluting industries with their heads still stuck in the sand.

20
Apr

RIVERSIMPLE, FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS

Riversimple’s new share offer is not just about investing in new, clean technology, nor even in a ground breaking, inclusive business model.  It is also about investing in the wellbeing of future generations.  We have simple needs for good health and wellbeing.  One is being able to breath fresh, clean air.

Out with the old

Out with the old

Air pollution is linked to heart attacks, strokes, asthma and other respiratory diseases.  It is also linked to underdeveloped lungs in children.  Studies show that long-term exposure to pollution from traffic may reduce children’s lung capacity by as much as 20%.  Research in Europe suggests that up to 30% of new asthma cases in children are caused by exposure to air pollution.

A PRIMARY SOURCE OF AIR POLLUTION ACROSS THE WORLD TODAY IS TRANSPORT.

Children are especially vulnerable to the long term impacts of breathing polluted air caused by the combustion engine.  This can’t be OK.  At Riversimple, we have been working hard to develop a hydrogen fuel cell car with zero harmful emissions.  We launched Riversimple Rasa, built at our workshop in Wales, this March. News about the Rasa has travelled around the world.

Journalists have been excited about the Riversimple Rasa because:

  • There is zero air pollution at the tail-pipe
  • Riversimple are taking fuel efficiency to a new level
  • There has never before been a supercar that is not super expensive.

Our sale of service model means the Rasa ‘supercar’ will be affordable.  It’s not just for superstars.

THIS APRIL A NEW LAW CALLED ‘THE WELLBEING OF FUTURE GENERATIONS ACT’ WAS PASSED IN WALES.

The act is based upon an important study in which people across Wales were asked to talk about what matters most to them.  These conversations were distilled into seven basic Welsh values that include: giving children the best start in life; living within global environmental limits; and prioritising the well-being of all.

In with the new

In with the new

At Riversimple we support the Welsh Government’s ambition to help shape a better future for children and generations yet to come.  The world now has, at its fingertips, the technology to clean up transport systems and cut air pollution.  Help us take an important clean technology, the FIRST EVER BRITISH FUEL CELL CAR, to market.  Purchase shares in Riversimple

 

  • References for this blog:
  • www.wales.gov.uk
  • www.thewaleswewant.co.uk
  • The Lancet https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(13)70192-9/abstract
  • The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/15/study-air-pollution-traffic-low-birthweight
  • Campaign for Heathy Air https://www.healthyair.org.uk
  • Environment and Human Health Inc. (US) https://www.ehhi.org/reports/exhaust/summary.shtml

 

25
Feb

RASA FOR THE 21st CENTURY

The car seats of Riversimple Rasa are a bit special. They’re covered in a durable and luxurious PET fabric that looks like suede …The Riversimple Rasa

… this high quality material has been manufactured from recycled plastic bottles. It’s just the kind of product choice that reflects our commitment to a supply chain fit for the 21st Century. But this isn’t just about recycling …

The Circular Economy

Ellen Macarthur first hit the headlines in 2001 when she sailed a racing yacht single-handedly around the world at just 24 years of age.  Ellen says that sailing has given her a very real understanding of what it means to rely on a finite supply of resources, as on the boat food, water and fuel are inescapably linked to success or failure. Since then, Ellen has become an ambassador for the Circular Economy, focused upon the big solutions that will conserve resources for the future.

One major step is to design products that last.  It’s perfectly possible, but the problem is that durable products are less compatible with business models based upon selling and selling and selling.

Dr. Stafford Lloyd joined Riversimple from Rolls Royce plc.  He tells a story about his previous workplace which required the installation of high quality showers to wash off corrosive substances in case of accident. With high safety standards, such accidents were most unlikely and the showers were not expected to need replacing regularly.  The manufacturers decided to lease the showers. They installed and carried out regular maintenance for a contractual fee … and business thrived.

In choosing to sell a service, the lasting quality of a product is translated into profit.

As Systems and Sustainability Engineer at Riversimple, Stafford is on a quest to ensure that every component part of the Riversimple supply chain is of long lasting quality.  A grant from Innovate UK supports his work in association with existing suppliers and specialists

Eco Design Centre WalesQSA , KS CompositesSwagelok,  Mark Water Pumps 

and together they are developing a new business tool.  This tool will be able to calculate the financial and environmental implications of sale-of-service for each supplier.  Participating companies will be involved in a pilot scheme, that will be run in conjunction with the customer trial of the Riversimple Rasa.  It could be a bit of a breakthrough for suppliers considering sale of service and we’ll keep you posted.

Stafford Lloyd on our Hydrogen test rig

Stafford Lloyd on our Hydrogen test rig

Can I buy a RASA?

No but Rasa will be available to you one day soon we hope – through a subscription package, typically of 1 – 3 years.  This will mean that

– All kinds of people will be able to choose a fuel cell car and drive away without leaving an invisible trail of pollution

– RASA subscribers won’t need to worry about the big issue of depreciation

– And RASA subscribers won’t have to worry about fuel bills, maintenance, servicing or insurance.

Which we think could be an attractive new proposition for the 21st century. Of course sustainable is possible.

10
Nov

THIS IS WHAT IS POSSIBLE – Mobility as a service

New technology tends to come on to the market at a high price. Over time, and as production becomes established, the price falls. But with giant corporations turning out 300,000 cars per year per automobile plant to cover capital production costs, what hope is there for a radically different car in today’s global market?

Continue Reading..

04
Nov

Re-inventing the car

The petrol car was shaped by and to a certain extent contributed to the shape of the 20th Century. This was a time of rapid and sustained change. Pioneers of the first combustion engine, the first Bentley, the first Mini and the first Ferrari were working against a back drop of horse-power, steam power, the discovery of oil, the industrial revolutionContinue Reading..

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