Hydrogen-powered Riversimple Rasa crowdfunding for $1.4 million

The hydrogen vehicle startup Riversimple now has a crowdfunding campaign that offers investors the opportunity to own part of the new automaker. However, the fuel cell vehicles themselves aren’t for sale to anyone in the traditional sense because the company’s business model relies on selling mobility as a monthly service. We clearly live in a whole new world of automotive funding when anyone can choose to take this risk with the startup.

We clearly live in a whole new world of automotive funding.

The company’s crowdfunding website shows an initial goal of 1 million pounds ($ 1.4 million US) and a stretch goal of 3 million pounds ($ 4.2 million). The actual target is somewhere in the middle because Riversimple already has a 2 million euro ($ 2.27 million) grant from the EU and six-figure investments from British groups, and the goal for this campaign is to match those funds. Riversimple will use the money to build 20 examples of its Rasa hydrogen vehicle for a beta test in Britain in the next 12 months.

The production version of the Rasa arrives in 2018, and it arrives with the company’s unusual business model. Rather than selling the vehicles, customers pay a fixed monthly fee to continue using the car. Along the way, Riversimple takes care of the running costs. The firm believes this structure lets it have a long-term flow of income and create a relationship with customers.

Riversimple showed off the Rasa prototype in February. The lightweight, two-seat vehicle weighs just 1,146 pounds, and electric motors in each wheel allow it to reach 60 miles per hour. A 8.5-kW fuel cell stack and supercapacitors keep the little car on the move.

You can check out the company’s promotional video for the crowdfunding campaign below. It’s an interesting tactic to raise additional funds, but given the history of green vehicle startups, investors should probably expect a serious risk.

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