The Riversimple fuel cell car unveiled in London today breaks a lot of the rules for what we expect a hydrogen vehicle to be. First, it’s not trying to be a replacement for a regular car (see: these SUVs or this truck). Instead, it’s very small and only seats two. Second, the usual proprietary secrets that go into designing and building the fuel cell have been replaced with an open source model, with all the designs and information due to be placed online for free. Third, and most dramatically, this car is cheap.
According to Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, the company that developed the Riversimple, “This innovative car could be made available to consumers for just 200 pounds Sterling ($315) per month.” Compare this to the lease or purchase prices of other advanced technology vehicles. The MINI E, for example, costs $850 a month for a year. The Honda FCX Clarity is $600 a month for three years. Sure, these are different vehicles and, with the MINI E, different technologies, but a lot of people shop with their wallets, and $315 beats $850, easy. When we first learned about the car last week, we heard that the lease period is a reported 20 years, so that will take the bloom off the rose a bit.
Horizon’s plan is to start leasing the Riversimple by 2013. It has a 240-mile range on a full charge of its small 1 kg hydrogen tank and can go up to 50 mph thanks to ultracapacitors and a 6 kW fuel cell. The company says it has “an efficiency equivalent to 300 miles to the gallon.” Look for 10 prototype vehicles to hit the UK sometime next year. Of course, thanks to the open source model, if you want to DIY this one, you might be able to beat that timeline. There’s a full press release and video of the car after the jump. Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Gallery: Riversimple hydrogen fuel cell car
Riversimple open-source fuel cell car could cost just $315/month originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Tue, 16 Jun 2009 14:06:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.