The engineers at Wales-based company Riversimple have built a new and incredibly innovative hydrogen-powered car with impressive fuel economy of around 250 mpg (or 0.9 L/100 km). Known as “Rasa”, the electric car is currently being marketed as the world’s most eco-friendly vehicle, boasting very low carbon emissions of only 40g/km. Additionally, it features specially-designed in-wheel electric motors, lightweight carbon-fiber body, an array of supercapacitors powered by regenerative braking, and many other impressive properties.
Thanks to its highly-inventive design, the car is capable of covering up to 300 miles (around 483 km) on a single 3.3 lb (or 1.5 kg) hydrogen tank. The two-seater prototype is powered by means of an 8.5 kW (11.4 hp) fuel cell, which in turn expels nothing but water from its tailpipe. The electricity, produced as a result of reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, drives the four in-wheel motors, generating nearly 443 foot-pound of torque.
According to the team at Riversimple, the car was developed with the help of a £2 million (around $2.85 million) funding from the Welsh government. The company has also received a €2 million (or $2.22 million) grant from the European Union, and will soon commence a year-long trial of as many as 20 Rasa prototypes. If everything goes as planned, the vehicle will be available commercially sometime in the middle of 2018. Speaking about the project, Hugo Spowers, the head of Riversimple Movement Ltd. said:
The Rasa engineering prototype marks another key milestone in bringing an affordable and highly-efficient hydrogen powered car to market. We really have started from a clean sheet of paper.
Headquartered in the Welsh town of Llandrindod Wells, the company, which also has a design studio in Barcelona, was originally created as part of the SWARM (Small 4-Wheel fuel cell passenger vehicle Applications in Regional and Municipal transport) initiative. Aimed at building and expanding hydrogen filling stations across Europe, the collaborative project also focuses on developing eco-friendly and energy-efficient vehicles that run on hydrogen fuel.
In addition to its impressive sustainable credentials, the Rasa boasts a sleek low-slung design, complete with projector headlamps in the front, faired rear wheels, upward-swinging doors as well as a vented hatch at the vehicle’s rear. The car features a minimalist, yet well-equipped, interior with simple dash layout. Thanks to its powerful engine, the electric vehicle can attain speeds of up to 55 mph (around 89 km/h) in less than nine seconds. With maximum speed limit of about 60 mph (or 96 km/h), the Rasa offers a smooth, comfortable ride.
Weighing approximately 580 kg (about 1,278 lb), the car has a 39 kg (or 86 lb) carbon-fiber monocoque shell, while the fuel cell itself weighs nearly 19 kg (42 lb). The vehicle is programmed to recover over 50-percent of the energy generated during braking, storing it in supercapacitors that in turn facilitate acceleration. Come 2018, the company will manufacture 3,500 units of the Rasa, which will then be offered to customers through a “sale of service” scheme.
According to the developers, customers will be allowed to use the cars on a rental basis, by paying a fixed monthly fee. In exchange, the company will cover all maintenance, repair, fuel and insurance costs. Spowers explained:
Rather than trying to make money from our customers in the first few years of ownership, our business plan means we make more money by giving the customer the most affordable service we can. If the car is cheap to build, efficient and reliable, we make more money, and the customer is happier. All parties are working towards a common goal.
Via: Autocar Professional