Riversimple, the world’s only independent hydrogen carmaker, announced its first crowdfunding round had received strong backing from investors – exceeding its target of £1m and raising a final figure of £1,138,000 before closing at midnight on April 9th.
Riversimple founder, Hugo Spowers said:
“I am delighted that we have not only passed our first tranche target of £1m, but the interest was so keen that we exceeded that figure. This is down to a growing demand for low emission personal transport and to the efforts of our team, because the people that work here make this company worth investing in.
“This very definite endorsement demonstrates people’s growing desire to be able to travel in a sustainable way and to start to address the catastrophic effects of pollution and global warming, while losing none of the joy of driving a responsive, beautifully-crafted car.
“The funding enables us to start building cars for our beta-test, which will take place in Wales and will be the first trial of its kind in the motor industry. Feedback from users will directly influence the final car design. Wales has been a very receptive location to develop our vehicle and is the only country to have sustainability written into its statute. The reaction from both organisations and individuals here has been overwhelmingly supportive and we have found it a great base for our disruptive technology business, which has attracted global recognition.”
The pioneering Welsh company is the only car maker to adopt a circular economy, promoting less waste and re-using parts where possible. It crowdfunded to match a €2million EU grant to hand-build 20 hydrogen fuel cell cars, which will be test driven by residents in Monmouthshire, Wales. This follows a £2million grant awarded by the Welsh government in 2015.
Analysis of Riversimple’s investors shows a geographically diverse spread of crowdfunders. Support has come from all corners of the world and many of the investors are engineers, reflecting high tech industry confidence in the business model and technology.
Investor confidence was boosted by global commitment to hydrogen vehicles, products and infrastructure announced earlier this year. A combined investment in hydrogen products and infrastructure of €10bn was announced by the Hydrogen Council (formed of Shell, Toyota and more) at the World Economic Forum in January and industry giant Shell opened a new hydrogen refuelling station at Cobham, with plans to install three more.
Hugo Spowers said: “We know from feedback from Riversimple investors that they are particularly interested in our subscription model, which aligns profitability, longevity, quality and sustainability. But the secret is also that the Rasa is a desirable car. It’s sporty, incredibly fun to drive, elegantly styled and has turned heads all over the world.”
The Rasa is currently believed to be the greenest car on the road for ordinary road use and emits just water. It is the culmination of 15 years of research and development by a team that includes ex-F1 and aerospace engineers and the former FIAT design chief, and was launched spring 2016 to huge acclaim. It has a range of c.300 miles, refills in a few minutes and is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell as well as energy recaptured from braking.
Riversimple scooped prestigious awards in 2016, including one of the Royal Automobile Club’s (RAC) most coveted accolades, RAC Simms Medal for an ‘Outstanding Contribution to Motoring Innovation’. It was also a star attraction at some of the UK’s top motoring events including The London Motor Show and Goodwood’s iconic Festival of Speed.
Credit: Rachel Jones @ Business News Wales.
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