SOURCE: Riversimple

June 11, 2010 07:44 ET

Riversimple and City of Leicester to launch world's greenest car

LONDON--(Marketwire - June 11, 2010) - Press release

A ground-breaking agreement that will see 30 highly energy efficient hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars on the streets of Leicester was signed today (Thursday June 10th) by Riversimple, the sustainable car company, and Leicester City Council. In the first project of its kind, the deal will see the council and Riversimple cooperate to find both private citizens and organisations to test drive the vehicles and locate and man a suitable refuelling point.

The 12 month pilot will be up and running by the spring of 2012. If the pilot is a success, Leicester and Riversimple will also discuss the potential of Leicester being the site for a factory producing 5,000 cars a year. Riversimple plans to run a second pilot in parallel and are in serious discussion with another UK city.

The two-seat vehicle was designed by a small team of British motorsport engineers and was built at Silverstone. It has a maximum cruising speed of 50 mph and a range on one tank of hydrogen of at least 200 miles. With a body made of lightweight composites it weighs only 350kg and by using novel design principles is able to do the equivalent of 300 miles per gallon. Hydrogen produces nothing but a few drops of water from the exhaust, although to achieve true "zero emission" credentials the fuel must be produced from renewable energy sources too.

Customers will not buy the cars outright. They will pay a fixed monthly and all-inclusive per mile charge to use the vehicles, similar to a mobile phone contract. The estimated monthly cost will be around £200 plus 15p per mile, including fuel. Customers will provide feedback both to improve the car and the driving experience.

Hugo Spowers, Riversimple's founder, said: "We are delighted to have found, in Leicester, a city which realises that the goal of sustainable transport means that words have to be turned into actions. By signing this deal we will both become pioneers. The age of fossil fuelled cars may not be over yet but it is surely dying. Contrary to what we usually hear, sustainable, near pollution free, transport is possible, here and now, using existing technology"

Riversimple is in the process of a second round fund raising, targeting £20 million from investors; their principal backer thus far, the family of Ernst Piëch, a member of the Porsche dynasty, are committed to participating. This fundraising is being supported by Innovator Capital Limited and Sustainable Development Capital LLP, both specialist London- based investment banks.

Sheila Lock, Leicester City Council's chief executive, said: "This confirms Leicester's status as a city which is leading the way in environmental terms. We recognise that we have a duty to our residents, their children - and to the country - to reduce pollution and help prevent global warming. This is yet another step in making Leicester a better place to live and we look forward also to the possibility of providing factory jobs if things go well."

Notes to editors - An information pack telling the Riversimple story is available at riversimple.com

For press inquires please contact: Charlie Burgess, Media Adviser to Riversimple: +44 7941 371440 charlie@charlieburgess.co.uk

For Leicester City Council press inquiries please contact: Christian.dezelu@leicester.gov.uk

For financial inquiries contact Cynthia Hung: +44 20 7297 6840 cynthia.hung@innovator-capital.com

Or Jonathan Maxwell: +44 20 7287 7722 jonathan.maxwell@sdcl-ib.com.

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