UK engineering firm Riversimple has revealed the Rasa, a road-legal engineering prototype of its first lightweight two-seater hydrogen-powered road car, built for full European type approval.
The car has a range of up to 300 miles on 1.5kg of hydrogen. Riversimple says that by using an 8.5kW hydrogen fuel cell rather than the 85kW-plus cells used by other hydrogen vehicles, its engineers have been able to make the car efficient without compromising performance.
The company will begin production later this year of 20 prototype models that are intended to take part in a 12-month beta trial. The Rasa has been developed from scratch in eight years by Riversimple. It was preceded by the LIFECar and Hyrban, two test projects, but is the first road-legal project from the company and complies with European type approval.
The car is powered by four 170Nm hub motors and manages 0-97km/h in 10 seconds, which also happens to be the Rasa’s top speed, thanks to a curbweight of just 580kg. The 1.5kg hydrogen tank takes just three minutes to refill.
The small 8.5kW fuel cell is the size currently used in forklift trucks, equivalent to 11ps. More than 50% of the kinetic energy produced under braking is recovered and turned into electricity to boost acceleration via a bank of super-capacitors, which offer 1.9MJ of useable energy from the lithium-ion capacitors.
Riversimple founder Hugo Spowers said, “The Rasa engineering prototype marks another key milestone in bringing an affordable and highly-efficient hydrogen-powered car to market. We really have started from a clean sheet of paper.
“The Rasa gives us the opportunity to introduce customers to a more convenient concept of motoring, a lightness of ownership that neither places a burden on the pockets of motorists or the surrounding environment. The car is simple, light and fun in every respect.”
March 4, 2016