Brits unveil 'revolutionary' hydrogen-powered car

The Riversimple Rasa - 250 mpg, but sadly unable to fly

A UK startup is banking on a hydrogen-powered automotive future with its "Rasa" - a "revolutionary" vehicle whose production prototype hit the streets earlier this week.

Featuring a carbon-fibre monocoque frame, four electric motors powered by an 8.5 kW hydrogen fuel cell and regenerative braking, the Rasa (as in "tabula rasa" - "blank slate") will offer zero emissions, 0-60 mph in ten seconds, a top speed of 60 mph and fuel consumption of around "250 mpg (equivalent), with a range of 300 miles", according to Wales-based manufacturer Riversimple.

A CAD view of the Rasa's internal workings

Key to the car's economical performance is the braking system, which reverses the motors, deploying a traditional friction-based back-up only for emergency stops. In this way, the powerplants become generators when you hit the anchors, so that "the kinetic energy, that is normally lost in the form of heat, is captured as electricity".

Riversimple elaborates: "As the car slows, this electricity floods into a bank of super-capacitors at the front of the car. Unlike a battery, these super-capacitors can take a huge charge very quickly, but they don’t store a lot of energy. The energy they take in is sent back to the motors again and provides the energy to accelerate."

Riversimple claims the car reclaims 50 per cent of braking energy, and since that's used for acceleration, the fuel cell only needs to pack enough power "to provide cruising speed power".

While the tech certainly appears to have legs, as it were, the big question is how the company intends to unleash the Rasa into a world with practically zero hydrogen refuelling infrastructure.

A side view of the Rasa

First up, the car won't be available to buy. Instead, Riversimple is planning "a simple pricing structure that enables customers to pay a single monthly fee that covers everything – the car, the maintenance, the insurance, the fuel".*

In parallel with moving towards getting punters behind the wheel, Riversimple is "working with hydrogen refueling partners to put in hydrogen stations one by one in hub locations near where our customers live, to get things started".

"The more people who want a Riversimple car in any given area, the sooner we can get the refueling in place there," it explains.

It's arguable, of course, that potential customers will be reluctant to commit until they have a handy hydrogen station close by, so it'll be interesting to see how the plans pan out.

The interior of the Rasa

There should be 20 Rasas available for beta testing later this year, with production due to kick off in 2018. If you're interested in climbing aboard the gas-powered revolution, you can sign up here. ®


*This concept is described as <shudder> "mobility as a service".

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • India reveals home-grown server that won't worry the leading edge

    And a National Blockchain Strategy that calls for gov to host BaaS

    India's government has revealed a home-grown server design that is unlikely to threaten the pacesetters of high tech, but (it hopes) will attract domestic buyers and manufacturers and help to kickstart the nation's hardware industry.

    The "Rudra" design is a two-socket server that can run Intel's Cascade Lake Xeons. The machines are offered in 1U or 2U form factors, each at half-width. A pair of GPUs can be equipped, as can DDR4 RAM.

    Cascade Lake emerged in 2019 and has since been superseded by the Ice Lake architecture launched in April 2021. Indian authorities know Rudra is off the pace, and said a new design capable of supporting four GPUs is already in the works with a reveal planned for June 2022.

    Continue reading
  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021