Page last updated at 18:24 GMT, Friday, 19 March 2010
Hydrogen cars of the future designed in Ludlow
Hugo Spowers at the new Riversimple HQ in Ludlow
Riversimple hope to employ 10 people by the end of 2010

Some of the most advanced and most environmentally-friendly cars are being designed in Ludlow.

Riversimple is designing hydrogen-powered cars at its base at the Mill on the Green at Dinham.

The cars, currently built at Silverstone, will undergo a 12-month trial involving 30 vehicles in Leicester, starting in spring 2012.

Managing partner Hugo Spowers said the Ludlow mill will be inspirational in the quest for energy efficiency.

The history of this beautiful part of Ludlow owes much to the River Teme and the mills that once lined its banks. As a reminder of its heritage, the Mill on the Green also features an updated waterwheel, producing 2-3kw of electricity and helping to power the building.

Green technology company Riversimple has already designed a prototype car which boasts a range of 200 miles and a maximum speed of 50mph and does the equivalent of 300 miles per gallon.

The Leicester trial will evaluate how the car performs in the real world. 30 of the vehicles will be leased, rather than sold, at £200 per month plus 15p per mile. Part of the scheme will also identify suitable places for hydrogen pumps to refill the cars.

In production by 2013

Last summer, Riversimple achieved widespread publicity with the launch of its first carbon-fibre hydrogen two seater.

Riversimple hydrogen car
Fuel consumption is the equivalent to 300mpg

It is powered by a 6kw fuel cell and weighs just 350kg, three times lighter than a standard mini. It also has greenhouse gas emissions which are less than a quarter of the most efficient of petrol-engine cars.

The company currently has six members of staff, but Mr Spowers, who used to build and drive racing cars, said they hoped to increase that to 10 by the end of the year.

At the moment only research and office work will take place at Dinham in Ludlow. If the Leicester trial is a success, the company will consider building a factory in the city that could build 5,000 cars a year and employ 250 people.

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