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Prince of Wales behind the wheel of a hydrogen car
© Riversimple

Prince of Wales behind the wheel of a hydrogen car

On the second day of his Welsh tour, the Prince of Wales on Tuesday (July 6) was behind the wheel of Riversimple’s hydrogen electric Rasa vehicle.

Test driving what is believed to be one of the greenest cars on Earth, the Prince Charles got a real feel for hydrogen-powered mobility – and it’s believed he was very impressed.

RiverSimple said the heir to the throne spent all morning at its HQ in Llandrindod Wells, Powys where he met the engineers and technicians behind the company’s technology.

© Riversimple

“It was great fun being the Prince of Wales’ passenger in the Rasa and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to share our plans for creating a new, sustainable manufacturing business in mid-Wales,” said Hugo Spowers, Managing Director and Founder of RiverSimple.

The Rasa is an ultra-lightweight and super-efficient two-seater vehicle with a 300-mile range. Refuelling the Rasa with hydrogen takes just a few minutes.

Riversimple: Rethinking hydrogen mobility

© Riversimple

For fuel cell technology to work in mobility, Hugo Spowers, founder of sustainable car company Riversimple, believes you need to make a car with a different structural arrangement, with different materials and with a different business model. 

“Fuel cells are totally different to combustion engines; you can’t persuade a fuel cell to behave like a petrol engine. If you’re really going to work with the characteristics of hydrogen, you’ve got to rethink how we build cars,” Spowers said.

And that’s exactly what he set out to do when he founded Riversimple, then OSCar Automotive, in 2001. Spowers has plans to manufacture 10,000 hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) a year, but he has no intention of selling them – more on that later.

“The breakthrough is at the system level, it’s how you put it all together,” Spowers enthused. “That sort of system integration is exactly what motor racing is about – it’s pulling together lots of different technologies that are available elsewhere and putting them together in a different pattern of relationships.”

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