New Carbon Fibre Car Set to Bring New Jobs to Wales

The Welsh Government is backing a new project to build a unique, ultra low-carbon, hydrogen fuelled car which is due to hit the streets very soon.

Riversimple Engineering, the company behind the project, is building its production prototype in Llandrindod Wells where it has opened a new Research and Development headquarters. The £3.5m investment is backed by £2million research, development and innovation funding from the Welsh Government.

The two-seater local network electric car, is being imagined by ex Fiat and Alfa Romeo designer Chris Reitz and will feature a light weight carbon fibre monocoque normally used for F1 and high-end super cars. Its power comes from hydrogen fuel cells, with a regenerative braking system to recapture energy that will be stored in a bank of super-capacitors to provide most of the power for acceleration.

The aim is for groundbreaking energy efficiency equivalent of around 240 mpg with a range of 300 miles, 0–50mph in 8 secs and a top speed of around 55–60 mph. Refuelling will take place at special free stations, and will take around 3 minutes.

The company has already built a technology demonstrator vehicle which achieved the equivalent of 300mpg and emitted nothing more than a cupful of water in a normal day’s use. The next stage now underway in Wales is a Mk2 version that integrates the system into a prototype car designed for full type approval. The production prototype will be a general working model to demonstrate the design and technical advances.

If the vehicle design achieves certification and goes into volume production, manufacturing will in all probability be based in Wales, with the potential to create an additional 220 jobs assembling around 5000 cars annually. Locating the work in Wales is a condition of the funding unless it presents a commercial barrier.