Riversimple: getting from A to Z in the 21st Century

December 21st, 2009

This is a fascinating story about sustainable mobility in the UK – hidden from view seemingly… in Herefordshire. And links in directly with the story of Local Motors (here) and c.mm,n, This business is called Riversimple.

Riversimple explain

The Riversimple approach has five key elements:

A lightweight network electric vehicle, constructed from carbon composites and powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

[1] Open source design and development. Riversimple will invite the community to help develop its vehicles, by licensing its designs to the independent open source foundation 40 Fires.

[2] A service concept – we will lease cars not sell them. This aligns the interests of the manufacturer with the interests of the consumer and of the environment – everyone wants cars that have a long life span with maximum efficiency and minimum materials usage.

[3] Distributed manufacturing – The economies of scale of carbon composites frames are very different from those of steel-bodied vehicles. Riversimple vehicles are likely to be produced in small factories producing 5,000-10,000 vehicles per year.This allows for considerable local variation in the car.

[4] Broader ownership – The corporate structure of Riversimple is designed to ensure that all stakeholders in the enterprise have a fair say and share in the benefits of a successful business.

They say they believe that business can be a powerful force in addressing the greatest issues that face humanity. However, it cannot be business as usual. The business must be driven by a profound purpose, must be democratic in structure, must seek to give back to society more than it takes and must be highly flexible and responsive to changes in its environment.

I think we can say the riversimple subscribes to the values and idea of the No Straight Line rule.


Re*Move posts

Today, on the terrace behind London’s Somerset House, Riversimple launched the culmination of nine years research and development – their new open source, hydrogen powered city car. Like Local-Motors in the US (more on whom soon), Riversimple are utilising open source principals to design and develop a new car. But that’s only half the story. Riversimple have, in effect, today launched a blueprint for how the car industry could reinvent itself – with wholesale changes to the way vehicles are designed, how they’re fueled, where and how they’re built, and how they’re sold.

Re*Move go on

We’ve said before and we’ll say again, open, networked forms of design and collaboration are going to change how we solve many problems. They’ll also shape the future of our cities, towns and villages, how we work in them, the ways we move and interact in them, the vehicles we design and the way they fit together.

Mitch Altman talks open source and networked design

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