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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