At the 2016 London Motor Show, Wales-based eco-car manufacturer Riversimple debuted its signature hydrogen-powered car, the two-seat Rasa, which features fiberglass body panels and a carbon fiber composite chassis that only weighs 40kg (approx. 88 lbs). In total, the car only weighs 580kg (approx. 1279 lbs) – about half the weight of a modern day “supermini” car.
The hydrogen passes through a Proton Exchange Membrane in the fuel cell where it combines with oxygen to form water and electricity. The near-zero-emission Rasa is then powered by four electric motors – one for each wheel. These motors are small, lightweight and give the car 4 wheel drive. A low-powered hydrogen fuel cell system produces 8.5kW, giving the car a range of 300 miles on a full tank. Although it can only reach a maximum speed of 60 mph, it can go from 0-60 mph in ten seconds.
Back in February, Riversimple unveiled the working prototype of the Rasa, after 15 years in production. Their first version was known as the Riversimple Urban Car – which was also designed with composites. It was designed by renowned car designer Chris Reitz, who styled the new Fiat 500.
According to eco-news outlet EarthTechling, the company is hoping to have the vehicles come to market by 2018. Although the car is still only a prototype, but more test vehicles will soon be in the hands of selected beta testers in the UK. They will be loaning out the car to 60-80 drivers for 3-6 month contracts to see how they work in the real world. Riversimple will be gathering data from the vehicles to assess fuel efficiency and performance, but they will also be collecting user feedback about the Rasa experience.
Check out the video below to see the Rasa in action.