Welsh hydrogen fuel-cell car startup Riversimple fueled by additional grant money

Riversimple Rasa
Major automakers like Toyota and Honda aren’t the only ones developing hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

Welsh startup Riversimple is working on its own small fuel-cell car called the Rasa, and it recently received a boost in the form of two grants worth a combined 325,000 pounds (about $430,000). Riversimple will use the grant money to continue development of the Rasa, and claims projects funded by the two grants will create 7,000 jobs in the U.K. Riversimple previously received a 2 million pound (roughly $2.9 million) grant from the Welsh government.

A grant of 200,000 pounds (about $264,000) will go toward a collaboration with engineering firm Presreg and the University of South Wales. The three entities will jointly develop a “hydrogen container manifold and regulators” for use on future cars, according to Riversimple. This will allow those components to be manufactured in the U.K. rather than imported, helping to create a local supply chain for fuel-cell powertrains, the company said.

Read more: Pininfarina’s H2 Speed hydrogen concept will become reality

A second grant of 125,000 pounds (about $165,000) will fund development of “bio carbon fiber” from flax, a project being undertaken in concert with NetComposites and KS Composites. Riversimple claims this material will be less expensive than alternatives, and hopes that it will be widely adopted by the car industry. The 7,000-jobs figure quoted by the company is related to the development and mass production of this material.

The Riversimple Rasa is an aerodynamic two seater that weighs just 1,200 pounds, thanks in part to a carbon-fiber monocoque chassis weighing a mere 88 pounds. A hydrogen fuel-cell stack sends power to four in-wheel electric motors, but the Rasa can also recover energy from braking, like most hybrids and battery-powered cars. For that, it relies on super capacitors to store the recovered electricity. Riversimple claims a 300-mile range, but with a top speed of just 60 mph.

Riversimple plans to build a pilot batch of 20 cars, and then commence regular production in 2018. Rather than simply selling cars to customers, though, Riversimple will charge a fixed monthly fee that includes maintenance, insurance, and fuel. So the ownership experience should be almost as unusual as the car itself.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Vanderhall Carmel adds creature comforts to the basic three-wheeler formula

The Vanderhall Carmel is the fifth three-wheeler from Utah-based Vanderhall Motor Works. It takes the basic design of the Vanderhall Venice and adds a handful of creature comforts, as well as a more powerful engine.
Cars

2019 Chevrolet Silverado gets serious about MPG with new four-cylinder engine

In an aggressive bid to improve fuel economy, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will be offered with a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Chevy claims comparable performance to other Detroit automakers' V6 trucks.
Product Review

When you’re done playing with track toys, get serious with McLaren’s 600LT

With borrowed tech from the 720S and Senna, the 600LT brings big-league performance to the more attainable levels of track-dedicated performance. Lighter, more powerful, and production-limited, McLaren’s latest is a true long tail.
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Cars

Watch this driverless Range Rover tackle one of U.K.’s ‘most challenging roads’

Jaguar Land Rover just sent its autonomous Range Rover Sport vehicle onto one of the U.K.'s "most challenging road layouts," and the automaker has posted a video online showing exactly how it fared.
Product Review

The 2019 Volvo V60 proves it's still cool to drive a station wagon

With the 2019 V60, Volvo argues the station wagon segment isn't as moribund as most other automakers say it is. The company goes as far as arguing we're on the cusp of a wagon revival, and the V60 is poised to lead the charge.
Cars

A public/private autonomous driving institute blooms under the Arizona sun

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM), partnering government, academic, and private organizations to develop self-driving tech and safety standards. Intel is the first private-sector member.
Cars

Ford imagines a future without traffic lights or stop signs

Ford is using vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) tech to allow cars to pass through intersections without stopping. The experimental "Intersection Priority Management" system basically acts as air traffic control for cars.
Cars

The supersized BMW X7 is coming with a grille you can park a 2 Series on

BMW will soon expand its lineup with a new range-topping SUV named the X7. The first-ever BMW X7 is shaping up to be the 7 Series of the SUV world in terms of size, price, and image.
Cars

Can't see all of a sudden? Our quick guide on defogging your car windows

Did you suddenly lose exterior visibility while driving because of foggy windows? Don't panic! Here's our quick guide on defogging your car windows in a safe manner while on the go, and a few steps on how to prevent them.
Product Review

Volvo’s redesigned 2019 S60 sedan is the best kind of remix

The 2019 Volvo S60 borrows almost everything from other recent Volvo models, but that’s not a problem. From its infotainment system to an available plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S60 takes the best bits from a lineup of great cars.
Cars

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Cars

Are European-style self-dimming and glare-free headlights coming to the U.S.?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposes to allow adaptive LED headlights on vehicles sold in the U.S. Adaptive LEDs automatically lower headlight intensity when they detect pedestrians or oncoming vehicles.