DRIVERS in Monmouthshire are being encouraged to test drive a hydrogen car in the first trial of its kind in the UK.

Powys-based car company Riversimple are launching a recruitment drive for 100 beta-testers living in the county to try out the ‘Rasa’.

People of all ages are being encouraged to apply before September 1, providing they have a clean driving licence.

The 12-month trial will take place in and around Abergavenny, where a hydrogen refuelling point will be installed.

While the initial trial will take place in one area, there are plans to roll it out further afield subject to demand.

The scheme will allow drivers to directly influence the final design of the car and the service, which will be offered on a subscription basis – similar to a mobile phone contract.

Riversimple will pay for hydrogen, insurance and all maintenance including tyres.

The company’s director Fiona Spowers said that the company are looking for “fellow trailblazers” to drive the cars in everyday situations.

“Our beta-testers are crucial to our plan, and will be shaping the future of our business and maybe the future of motoring for everyone,” she said. “We are interested in local people who have a clean driving licence and who tend to use their car for local journeys.

“The Rasa has a maximum speed of 60mph, so it is not designed for long distance motorway travel.

“It’s licensed to be on the road, but not finalised for production.”

The hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) is the culmination of 15 years of research and development by a team boasting ex-Formula One and aerospace engineers.

Funding has been provided by a €2-million grant from the European Union and from a crowdfunding round earlier this year, which exceeded its £1-million target. Another funding round is planned.

Mrs Spowers said: “Driving is such an emotive, vital thing to many of us – our zero-emission cars offer the joy of driving, but with none of the hassle of ownership depreciation, dirty taxes and servicing extras.”

“Our aim has always been to produce a car which is available to the many, not just the well-off and feedback from the trial will help to ensure we achieve this.”

To sign-up for the Rasa trial, fill out the online application form at