The Riversimple Beta Test began at the end of April and, in true Welsh fashion, it was a very wet afternoon! Four early-stage Beta Testers kindly agreed to preview the Beta Test process – Jeremy, a retired engineer; Roland, an IT Manager; Harriet, a solicitor; and Jayne, a national programme manager. They drove the Rasa Beta on various circuits through and around Abergavenny.
Beta testing is a term coined by the software world to describe real user, real world testing before public release of a new product or update. In our case, we are Beta testing both our cars and our service with members of the general public, with a view to refining designs before kicking off volume production. It is an ambitious goal for a car company and has been a long time coming; technical and Covid-related delays played havoc with our original timing for this all-important trial.
We were pleased how quickly our Beta Testers became familiar and confident with the vehicle, but even more pleased that the Rasa was fun to drive; even though the speed is capped at 60mph, the design of the Rasa Beta made Harriet feel “like a racing driver”, Jayne described it as “really exciting”.
As well as engaging with individuals, the Beta Test will include households, car sharing clubs and public organisations such as Monmouthshire County Council as part of their workplace fleet. Our concurrent research into fleets confirms that carbon reduction is high on organisations’ agendas and hydrogen powered vehicles could have a very important role to play. As the government pushes for the banning of new petrol and diesel cars, we want to make sure that there is a zero emission choice for those who can’t accommodate or don’t want a battery powered electric car. Right now it seems that there are still reasons to hesitate, as this research from the AA indicates.
The waiting list for our Riversimple vehicles is growing– from individuals to organisations, there is a real and lively appetite to help Riversimple shape the sustainable driving of the future.
We look forward to sharing the fun and pleasure of driving the state-of-the-art Rasa Beta with more Beta Testers throughout the year both in Abergavenny, where the test is supported by OZEV (the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles) and in Milford Haven, as part of the Milford haven:Energy Kingdom demonstration of smart local energy systems, supported by UKRI (UK research and Innovation Council).