Chief engineer and founder of Riversimple, Hugo Spowers is an Oxford University trained engineer and entrepreneur. His first business was in motorsport, designing and building racing cars and restoring historic racing cars. He left motorsport for environmental reasons and set up OScar Automotive in 2001 (which became Riversimple in 2007) on the basis that a step change in automotive technology is both essential and possible.
The first fuel cell car to emerge was the LIFECar, developed by a consortium Hugo brought together with Morgan and presented at the Geneva Motorshow in 2008. The small Hyrban technology demonstrator followed in 2009. The prototype of the Riversimple Rasa (the ‘Alpha’) was launched in 2016, followed by a much improved customer-ready version (the ‘Beta’) in 2017/8. A pilot trial of 20 Beta Rasas is being launched later in 2020.
Hugo is responsible for all technical aspects of the cars and for the architecture of the business itself. He is considered something of a thought leader on the Circular Economy and has been invited to give talks on entrepreneurship at Imperial College, London and Cranfield University among others.
At the Real Innovation Awards in October 2019 hosted by the London Business School, Hugo was awarded the George Bernard Shaw Unreasonable Person Award “for someone who has shown enormous tenacity and stubbornness in pursuing an idea despite the difficulties encountered along the way”.