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Who will build the car of the future? General Motors in the States? Toyota in Japan? Or a newer firm from India or China? Riversimple, a UK-based transport company, believes that the answer lies not with a single company working on its own but in harnessing the knowledge and ideas of a global community of volunteers, engineers, students and small manufacturers. They are currently working on the world’s first open source eco-car, an urban two-seater (pictured above), powered by hydrogen fuel cells.
By harnessing the knowledge and ideas of a global community of volunteers, engineers, students and small manufacturers, the UK based business Riversimple is creating the first, open source, highly energy efficient eco car. Riversimple is a small company with the ability and freedom to think radically; they have no existing factories or market to protect, so can choose the best, most energy efficient solution to the most pressing problems facing the modern automotive industry
At just 350kg, (almost half the weight of competitors G-Whiz and Smart cars), this two-seater car can accomplish performance figures never before attained from existing hydrogen fuel cell technology: the car can achieve 0- 80 kph in 5.5 seconds, travel in excess of 320 km per hour and only consumes the petrol energy equivalent of 300mpg in hydrogen. The Riversimple car uses both battery power and hydro electric power - battery electric vehicles are very efficient for short journeys in town, and hydro electric power is more efficient for longer ranges. The Riversimple car has a fuel cell of only 6kw.
In stark comparison to the average economic car life in the UK (which is just 5 years), the Riversimple car has been designed to last – both physically and in terms of a business model. Built for a lifecycle of 15 years, the car is also cheap to maintain, it will be leased and not sold, and many stakeholders will be involved in the running of the business. The car has also been designed to be recycled.