By Mayukh Saha / Truth Theory
We’ve come a long way since we first started using hydrogen fuel cells to power cars. It was only about thirty years ago that they could be made small enough to be placed inside a car. Over time, they’ve become slightly more cost-effective and availability has increased but these cars are still not in the mainstream. Manufacturing them is an expensive endeavor which can also get cumbersome.
Video: Innovate UK
But this hasn’t discouraged some people and Riversimple, a Welsh manufacturer, decided to take these disadvantages as a challenge to make things better. The founder Hugo Spowers vowed to stop using petrol over a decade ago and since then he has been dedicated to manufacturing cars that are fuelled by hydrogen. With his own hands, he designed and built the Rasa, a streamlined beauty that is only 40 kgs heavier than the battery of a Tesla Model S.
A modernistic car with butterfly doors, the Rasa is a marvel when it comes to design. It is completely powered by hydrogen and oxygen and refueling takes barely a few minutes. The best part? There are zero carbon emissions from this car. You never have to worry about a cloud of smoke rising from the tailpipe because all it gives out is water. No energy is wasted while driving it because ultra-capacitors even store up the kinetic energy that is recovered whenever you break by turning it into electricity.
Another great thing about the Rasa is that from manufacturing to driving, the entire process only results in the emission of 40 gms of carbon dioxide per kilometer. This is much lower than all the other types of electric cars on the market at the moment.
Through the Rasa, Spowers really just wanted to do his bit to save the world. He’s currently trying to increase the demand for use of the car by offering it as a service. You might be wondering what this means and it is simple enough. Spowers doesn’t intend to sell any of his cars. Rather, users can rent them out for a specific fee for days, weeks, or even months. According to him, the entire system has to be changed if we want the world to be better and he hopes to achieve that with this design.
Coming up next in Spowers’ plan is the construction of charging stations so that drivers won’t have to worry about refueling. By combining stations for electric cars and hydrogen-powered cars, sustainability can be brought to an all-time high and the emissions of CO2 will be drastically reduced. This is also necessary to make hydrogen cars as popular as the electric ones.
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At present, there are only a few thousand cars running on hydrogen being used while there are at least a couple of million electric ones on the road. Even in Japan, where these vehicles are more popular, there are barely even a hundred stations where drivers can refuel.
But like Spowers, the manager of the Toyota Group, Jean-Yves Jault, also believes that these hydrogen cars are going to be a huge attraction for those who are looking for vehicles that are cleaner alternatives to petrol and diesel-powered cars. There are of course other solutions besides hydrogen but it is definitely a good one and hopefully something we’ll see more around soon enough.
Image Credits: Riversimple