UK car manufacturer Riversimple has released a teaser image of its first hydrogen-powered prototype road car, set to be revealed this Wednesday.
Riversimple have designed what its describes as a ‘radically different hydrogen powered car’. Penned by Chris Reitz, former design chief for the Fiat 500, the car emits a tiny amount of water and returns an estimated mpg equivalent to 250 miles.
Beginning with a hydrogen fuel cell and a blank sheet of paper, every aspect of the hydrogen Mark ll Alpha has been created for ‘simplicity, efficiency, lightness, strength, affordability, safety and sustainability’.
This car is a two seater ‘network electric’ model, powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The chassis is a carbon fibre monocoque made from very lightweight but extremely stiff carbon fibre composites, with the monocoque chassis weighs less than 40kg. With a target weight of 520 kg the prototype features: Four electric motors, one in each wheel, motors as brakes – recovering over 50 per cent of kinetic energy when braking as well as ‘Super-capacitors’ to store this energy and provide most of the power for acceleration.
The production prototype should has a range of 300 miles with emissions of zero at tailpipe and approx. 40gCO2/km ‘Well-to-Wheel’ even if the hydrogen comes from natural gas. The hydrogen passes through a Proton Exchange Membrane in the fuel cell where it combines with oxygen to form water and electricity. The electricity then flows to the motors in each wheel.
Riversimple says its ‘innovative network’ design means that the car only requires a fuel cell big enough to provide cruising speed power, rather than acceleration, getting more than 50 per cent of the braking energy back, which is used to boost acceleration.
With further funding, 20 cars will be ready for Beta test with customers next year before it comes to market in 2018.