I knew the name was familiar. Riversimple used to be a frequent player in the AutoblogGreen pages, but we haven't heard anything about them since 2010. Back then, the talk was of on-road test of the company's hydrogen car and the hiring of a former Fiat and Alfa Romeo designer. Since then, silence.

Until this week. The company has kept busy and Riversimple is back with a new pre-production hydrogen prototype called the Rasa. The name is supposed to make you think of tabula rasa, which means 'clean slate' in Latin. In other words, it's time to rethink what came before.

But not everything is new and different. Like the original concept revealed in 2009, this one is a two-seater. The swoopy shape is also somewhat similar. After that, though, things have changed. The Rasa should have a 300-mile range and a lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque body. How light? Like 88 pounds light, with the overall vehicle weighing just 1,146 pounds. The powertrain uses a 8.5-kW fuel cell stack and four in-wheel motors and supercapacitors and has thus far pushed the prototype to at least 60 miles per hour. Like all hydrogen cars, there are no tailpipe emissions and Riversimple says that well-to-wheel emissions using H2 made from natural gas are around 40 grams of CO2 per kilometer (about the same as a car that gets 136 miles per gallon).

Like Elio, Riversimple will offer an "investment opportunity" at some point in the future. Riversimple says it needs the money to build 20 beta test cars for customers later this year before the Rasa comes to market in 2018. That's the plan, anyway.

Related Video:

Share This Photo X