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NEW - The hydrogen fuel Rasa from Wales - new technology, new business model


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Hear from Hugo Spowers how he conceived the hydrogen fuelled Riversimple Rasa, took it from initial design concept to prototype manufacture, and why the Rasa will be marketed as a mobility service for a monthly fixed fee plus mileage rate.

Date and Time

29 September 2017 - 12:00-17:30


London, United Kingdom - icon_popup  (See map)


Organised by the UK - London local network.

About this event

Hear how Riversimple’s Rasa car has been designed from scratch to deliver a step change in fuel efficiency and environmental performance.
The Rasa is powered by hydrogen and built with lightweight composite materials.  Weighing 580 kg, it is both highly aerodynamic and stable.  It has electric motors on all four wheels which also recover 50% of kinetic energy when braking, super-capacitors storing this energy and providing most of the power for acceleration.  The hydrogen fuel cell is 8.5 kW.  Rasa calorific energy consumption is equivalent to 250mpg on petrol.
Understand why “Batteries or Hydrogen?” is actually the wrong question and why a mixture of different solutions is required.  The characteristics of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) are different, so they have distinct roles.  Appreciate why the Rasa was designed as hydrogen powered.  The technical considerations of choosing powertrains for different applications.  The various ways that hydrogen is produced to fuel HFCVs and the implications to the carbon free energy and emissions equation.  The chicken and egg question over the critical scale of infrastructure required to unlock a commercial market for hydrogen cars and a need for a transition strategy.
The Rasa development journey from a hydrogen fuel cell, and a manifesto for sustainable design plus a blank sheet of paper.  Every aspect of the Rasa has been created and interrogated for simplicity, efficiency, lightness, strength, affordability, safety and sustainability.  And the name Rasa is a nod to that blank sheet of paper – Tabula Rasa means ‘Clean slate’ in Latin.
Hear how the Rasa components were sourced from leading companies around the world.  How Riversimple has received start-up funds and awards for the Rasa development.
The process of assembly of the first car, the approval process to allow road testing and the vehicle development that has taken place through road testing.
Understand why Riversimple is a different sort of car company, which is why it is not going to sell a car as a product as its business model is to offer mobility as a service at a fixed monthly fee with a mileage rate, and why this reduces the entry barriers for Low Carbon Vehicles.
Customers will receive a car – their car – and all the maintenance, insurance and fuel to run it. One payment to cover everything – at the equivalent monthly cost of running a normal, average car.


Hugo Spowers, Founder and Company Architect of Riversimple, is an Oxford University trained engineer and entrepreneur.  He founded and ran a business designing and building racing cars and restoring historic racing cars until environmental concerns led him away from motorsport. The focus of his MBA at Cranfield University was a feasibility study into bringing hydrogen fuel cell cars to market and he concluded that a step change in automotive technology is both essential and possible.  Riversimple was set up in 2001 and their first fuel cell vehicle was the LIFECar, developed by a consortium Hugo brought together with Morgan and shown at the Geneva Motorshow in 2008. Technology demonstrators followed and the Rasa prototype is the first Riversimple car designed for type approval; a pilot trial of 20 vehicles in Monmouthshire is planned for 2018.


Not a Sponsor other than giving a free lecture:


Unit 32

Ddole Enterprise Park

Llandrindod Wells





12:00 to 13:45 – lunch.
14:00 to 14:45/15:00 – lecture 
14:45/15:00 to 15:30 approximately – questions and discussion

Reasons to attend

To understand the challenges of setting up a company to design a new product from scratch and produce the prototype.  To also understand the engineering development to move an idea from conception to a product and the impact of business model on design.  To appreciate the design elements in a hydrogen powered vehicle.

Continuing Professional Development

CPD logo declaring this event can contribute 1 hours towards your Continuing Professional Development

This event can contribute towards your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of the IET's CPD monitoring scheme.

Additional information

Delegates will have the opportunity to pre book a lunch at Savoy Place.  The cost for a two course meal with wine is £16.95.  It is ESSENTIAL to pre book lunch.

Registration information

Those wishing to attend are asked to send an e-mail by the preceding Monday, giving name(s), and requesting attendance at the lunch and lecture or just the lecture, and in the case of lunch, giving any dietary restrictions.  The e-mail should be sent to both johnfuller500@yahoo.com and tonydavies@ieee.org please note the triple 'e' in the Tony's address, with the subject line [The hydrogen fuel Rasa from Wales - new technology, new business model Friday 29 September 2017 Lunch and Lecture]. No acknowledgement will be sent unless specifically requested.

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