Tech by VICE

This Hydrogen-Powered, Zero-Emission Car Will Only Be Available on Subscription

Riversimple is looking for investment to bring its Rasa car to the public—but while you can invest, you can't buy.

by Victoria Turk
Apr 5 2016, 3:00pm

Not convinced by the Tesla Model 3? Here's an alternative approach to an eco-friendly car, which is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and claims zero emissions. The catch: You can't buy one yet, as the company is currently looking for investors in order to build cars for a public trial. In fact, owing to a rather interesting business model, you can never buy one.

The Register reports that British company Riversimple Movement is seeking investors in its Rasa vehicle, the cute-looking hydrogen-powered car shown zipping around like the smoothest of car commercials in the video above.

The Rasa prototype is very lightweight and has an electric motor on each wheel, which are powered by electricity generated by the fuel cell. The company explains the car also captures kinetic energy when it brakes, essentially reclaiming energy that's usually lost.

But the business model is perhaps as intriguing as the tech, with Riversimple claiming they "will never sell a car." Rather, they intend to offer use of the Rasa on subscription: Drivers pay a monthly fee and then give up the car to the next person when they finish their contract. Riversimple claims this incentivises them to build cars to last and to run efficiently.

With investment, Riversimple aims to have 20 Rasa cars on UK roads in a trial this year, having already received 2 million euros from the EU.

You'd just better hope there's a hydrogen refuelling station near you.