What you’re looking at is the Rasa from eco car startup called Riversimple Movement Ltd. It’s a two-seater fuel cell car with a range of up to 300 miles, and the Welsh government put almost $3 million of EU money in it. The idiots.

Hugo Spowers, Riversimple’s founder, will tell you that the Rasa “has been engineered by a highly-skilled team from some of the world’s most renowned carmakers, Formula 1 teams and aerospace engineering companies.” He will also reveal that “its elegant and clean lines have been styled by Chris Reitz, one of Europe’s leading car designers.” And that’s all true.

What’s more, with a curb weight of 1,234 pounds, the Rasa also weighs nearly half of a small car. That’s because it features a carbon composite chassis and only 18 moving parts in the entire powertrain.

It packs a small 8.5 kW fuel cell, the same size you’d find in a forklift truck. That’s good for 11 horsepower. Each wheel has its own motor, and more than 50 percent of the kinetic energy produced under braking is recovered and turned into electricity to boost acceleration via a bank of super-capacitors. A McLaren P1 can’t do that.


That’s why Riversimple claims a range of up to 300 miles on 1.5 kg of hydrogen, while the car’s top speed is 60 mph.


Neat. But who would want a two-seater hydrogen car running bike tires on British roads very slowly, while mainstream manufacturers like Toyota offer proper, actual cars like the Mirai using the same fuel cell tech? It’s very, very hard to see a viable business case for this thing.

Of course, Riversimple doesn’t want to sell you the Rasa when they bring it to the market in 2018. Oh no:

Riversimple will offer the car to motorists through its unique “sale of service” model. For a fixed monthly fee and mileage allowance, similar in expenditure to leasing and running a new family-sized hatchback, the company will cover all repair, maintenance, insurance and fuel expenses.

Customers will never actually buy the car and experience the burden of depreciation; they will simply exchange or return it at the end of the ownership period.


Yes. That will make a huge difference, because wait, no, it won’t. This is rubbish. If I were the European Union, I would try to get a refund.


Photo credit: Riversimple


Contact the author at mate@jalopnik.com.