LONDON, Jun 11 (MARKET WIRE) —
A ground-breaking agreement that will see 30 highly energy efficient
hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars on the streets of Leicester was signed
today (Thursday June 10th) by Riversimple, the sustainable car company,
and Leicester City Council. In the first project of its kind, the deal
will see the council and Riversimple cooperate to find both private
citizens and organisations to test drive the vehicles and locate and man
a suitable refuelling point.
The 12 month pilot will be up and running by the spring of 2012. If the
pilot is a success, Leicester and Riversimple will also discuss the
potential of Leicester being the site for a factory producing 5,000 cars a
year. Riversimple plans to run a second pilot in parallel and are in
serious discussion with another UK city.
The two-seat vehicle was designed by a small team of British motorsport
engineers and was built at Silverstone. It has a maximum cruising speed of
50 mph and a range on one tank of hydrogen of at least 200 miles. With a
body made of lightweight composites it weighs only 350kg and by using
novel design principles is able to do the equivalent of 300 miles per
gallon. Hydrogen produces nothing but a few drops of water from the
exhaust, although to achieve true “zero emission” credentials the fuel
must be produced from renewable energy sources too.
Customers will not buy the cars outright. They will pay a fixed monthly
and all-inclusive per mile charge to use the vehicles, similar to a mobile
phone contract. The estimated monthly cost will be around GBP 200 plus
15p per mile, including fuel. Customers will provide feedback both to
improve the car and the driving experience.
Hugo Spowers, Riversimple’s founder, said: “We are delighted to have
found, in Leicester, a city which realises that the goal of sustainable
transport means that words have to be turned into actions. By signing
this deal we will both become pioneers. The age of fossil fuelled cars
may not be over yet but it is surely dying. Contrary to what we usually
hear, sustainable, near pollution free, transport is possible, here and
now, using existing technology”
Riversimple is in the process of a second round fund raising, targeting
GBP 20 million from investors; their principal backer thus far, the
family of Ernst Piech, a member of the Porsche dynasty, are committed to
participating. This fundraising is being supported by Innovator Capital
Limited and Sustainable Development Capital LLP, both specialist London-
based investment banks.
Sheila Lock, Leicester City Council’s chief executive, said: “This
confirms Leicester’s status as a city which is leading the way in
environmental terms. We recognise that we have a duty to our residents,
their children – and to the country – to reduce pollution and help
prevent global warming. This is yet another step in making Leicester a
better place to live and we look forward also to the possibility of
providing factory jobs if things go well.”
Notes to editors – An information pack telling the Riversimple story is
available at riversimple.com
For press inquires please contact: Charlie Burgess, Media Adviser to
Riversimple: +44 7941 371440 email@example.com
For Leicester City Council press inquiries please contact:
For financial inquiries contact Cynthia Hung: +44 20 7297 6840
Or Jonathan Maxwell: +44 20 7287 7722 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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