Automotive

Riversimple unveils two new hydrogen car concept designs

Riversimple unveils two new hy...
Riversimple has unveiled two new concept models at the London Motor Show, one of which is a stylish four-door sedan
Riversimple has unveiled two new concept models at the London Motor Show, one of which is a stylish four-door sedan
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Riversimple Rasa prototype at the London Motor Show
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Riversimple Rasa prototype at the London Motor Show
Riversimple Rasa prototype at the London Motor Show
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Riversimple Rasa prototype at the London Motor Show
Riversimple Rasa prototype at the London Motor Show showing its fared-in rear wheels
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Riversimple Rasa prototype at the London Motor Show showing its fared-in rear wheels
Rasa three-quarter rear view
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Rasa three-quarter rear view
Butterfly-wing doors open
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Butterfly-wing doors open
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The new Riversimple light-commercial vehicle concept
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The new Riversimple light-commercial vehicle concept
The Riversimple four-door concept with both side butterfly-wing doors open
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The Riversimple four-door concept with both side butterfly-wing doors open
Riversimple has unveiled two new concept models at the London Motor Show, one of which is a stylish four-door sedan
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Riversimple has unveiled two new concept models at the London Motor Show, one of which is a stylish four-door sedan
The four-door concept looks more like a conventional high-end sedan
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The four-door concept looks more like a conventional high-end sedan
Rear view of the new Riversimple concept four-door sedan
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Rear view of the new Riversimple concept four-door sedan
The Rasa's interior
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The Rasa's interior

When the Rasa hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle prototype was launched earlier this year, its unconventional styling was, for some, an acquired taste. At this weekend's London Motor Show Riversimple outlined the potential for an expanded range by showing two new concept designs based on the existing chassis and running gear: a four-door sedan and a light commercial vehicle.

The original Rasa vehicle was on display alongside the new designs to showcase the technology and to attract investors. Born of the SWARM (Small 4-Wheel fuel cell passenger vehicle Applications in Regional and Municipal transport) consortium project that plans to expand existing hydrogen refueling infrastructure across Europe, Rasa's creators ardently believe that they and other industries underpinning hydrogen-based vehicle networks will enable significant uptake of this technology.

"Over a twenty-tear period, this approach will create thousands of new jobs and forge new revenue streams," said Riversimple founder Hugo Spowers. "Our circular business model aligns profitability with sustainability and has the potential to change the market dynamics in this resource-intensive industry."

The four-door concept looks more like a conventional high-end sedan
The four-door concept looks more like a conventional high-end sedan

In an attempt to augment the simple hatchback design of the original model, the two new preliminary designs that may eventually expand Riversimple's model range are aimed at opposite ends of the spectrum, with a somewhat more conventional four-door sedan and a city-based light commercial van.

Staying with the Rasa's upward-opening doors (the designer, Chris Reitz, calls them "Butterfly wings") arrangement, the sleek aerodynamic design of the sedan has overtones of Porsche and Audi.

The van, on the other hand, looks like it came straight out of Blade Runner, with its angled lines and purposeful stance - though there still appears to be plenty of practicality in the large loading area out the back.

The new Riversimple light-commercial vehicle concept
The new Riversimple light-commercial vehicle concept

The Riversimple Rasa project was originally supported by a £2 million (US$2.85 million) grant from the Welsh government and a €2 million (US$2.22 million) European Union endowment. Now, the company has gone down the crowdfunding route to help bring the proposed new models to fruition. No details are available for when the concept vehicles may be developed, but investment information can be accessed via the link to Riversimple's website below.

Starting later this year, Riversimple will be conducting a public 12-month trial of 20 Rasa pre-production cars. Full production models are planned to go to market late in 2018.

Source: Riversimple

7 comments
Naoki Watanabe
They should have hired a physicist to explain why hydrogen fuel cells are a terrible idea compared to pure electric. I suppose a decade ago you could have made an argument about range but that's mostly moot now too.
VincentWolf
Both look clownish like the cartoon movie 'Cars'.
StuartPoore
The 4 door looks quite a bit like a Citroen CX from the side, but the doors are stupid.
Craig Jennings
I'm at a loss. Designing vehicles for propulsion/fuel systems that don't exist yet? Not just cart before horse, it's cart before knowing what horse, if any, will be used. That said, I love the look of the van!
SteveYoung
Unfortunately, hydrogen is a poor choice for an energy storage vector now, and will continue to get comparatively worse as batteries/ultracapacitors get drastically better. Hydrogen is a dangerous, expensive, wasteful and most of all bulky medium even stored as a liquid or in hydrides. “hydrogen is an incredibly dumb” car fuel - Elon Musk
jerryd
Only the 4door looks decent. And with the price of batteries so low and h2, fool cells so high, this makes no economic since. As likely only 100wthrs/ Mile just 20kwhrs gives 200 mile range and 15 minute recharge makes it a much smarter choice . There is little advantage to using cf instead of medium tech composites, in fact they can have better crash protection at much lower cost.
Bob Flint
Design is ancient more than 30 years old, the doors will kill you, if the fuel doesn't...