Hydrogen vehicle firm Riversimple is planning to raise £150m over the next three years to fund two plants.
The facilities will focus on a new hydrogen LGV and the commercial production of their eco-coupe, the Rasa, by 2023, with the lightweight commercial van for last mile delivery coming the following year.
It is believed the plant would create 180 to 220 skilled jobs making 5000 vehicles per year with a site in either mid or south Wales. The firm is in conversation with the UK and Welsh governments about manufacturing plans.
Riversimple has relied on crowdfunding and grants so far in its development but the investment call sees the firm move into the next stage of the business.
Hugo Spowers said: “Hydrogen’s potential to contribute to a clean energy future is widely recognised around the world, by governments and the private sector. With the ban on combustion engine vehicles looming, now is the time to focus on clean and efficient alternatives.
“We’re focused on delivering convenient and commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs), as well as seeing a new era of automotive manufacturing in the heart of Wales.
“FCEVs are the only zero carbon solution that offers customers the convenience that they have come to expect – 3 minutes to refuel and a decent range. They represent a once-in-alifetime opportunity for the UK to take a leading role in the future of the auto sector, harnessing the unrivalled skill base that we have in automotive technology.
“In our view, electricity and hydrogen are complementary energy vectors and the availability of both Fuel cell electric vehicles and Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will decarbonise the transport sector much faster.”
The company claims some 4,000 people have already expressed an interest in being a future customer of Riversimple. Currently, Rasas are being hand-built for a trial with the general public based in Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, which will start as soon as Covid restrictions allow.
The trial is being supported by OLEV as part of the HTP programme. Riversimple is also a partner in the Milford Haven:Energy Kingdom demonstration in Pembrokeshire, supported by UKRI.
Frank Holmes, partner at Gambit Corporate Finance LLP – “With desirable vehicles and an innovative business model, we see Riversimple as a catalyst for the hydrogen economy, driving the net zero agenda in Wales where the fuel cell was invented, and beyond.”