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Paying for mobility, not resources – a new model for personal transport

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By Brendan Norman, Riversimple

With Riversimple’s introduction comes a number of different innovations – lots of small clean factories creating jobs all over the world and sharing the load, a cleaner way of getting around than traditional vehicle models and then offering the chance to not have to buy a car but to pay a monthly mobility charge and not pay for the use and ultimately depreciation of a thing which will likely end up in a hole somewhere with no value to anyone.

The Riversimple monthly fee for mobility covers the use of the car, covers the insurance, maintenance and all the hydrogen that would be used over a given mileage – 1000 miles per month customer pays less than 1500 miles per month customer etc…  So absolutely the efficiency per mile is an absolute responsibility of the manufacturer!

There are similarities at face value to some of the finance products on cars, but there is a run off of the value of those cars which is quite high – over a 7-8 year cycle someone will probably end up paying off the full value of the car.  This is where the Riversimple shows one of it’s three advantages which allows Riversimple to be competitive despite using some very high value components in the car.

The Rasa has been developed with an approach that the car will be kept fresh and desirable for a 15 year period – so over 3-5 times at 3-5  year periods people will change cars and a second user will take the car at a lower cost, reflecting the age of the vehicle to an extent.  This immediately lowers the cost year by year in terms of depreciation.

Second advantage also helps to keep the cost down to the customer: as the car is using a number of very high end technologies and materials, like most cars today of course, and with this being not ‘sold’, the value of the components and materials stay as an asset of the car company.  Here comes then the chance for the key items to be leased backwards from the suppliers or other intermediaries to sit on those assets – and in some cases appreciating materials.

The fuel cell for example has high values of platinum within: so 10-15 years down the track this becomes worth more than today it means the cost of the material need not be written off year by year – the residual value holds on – this way high cost technologies become even more affordable.  Not just the fuel cell, but as we progress with recoverable carbon fibre technologies promised in the next 2-3 years this becomes even more cost effective to have brilliant technology at low monthly running expense.  And this can go much further into all parts of the car.

The third advantage is simple, and obvious: the materials Riversimple leases out have a residual value for a reason – they get turned around and sent back out again…  This is built into the design to be easily recoverable and this enforces the closed loop of the materials.

It’s a small step to have one new car company now start to do this:  but once it becomes apparent I believe that other industries, and consumers could make this an agenda and demand this type of thinking.  The high value materials in nearly anything can be treated the same way and it not only benefits the consumer by having a better and more efficient product at a more reasonable price but also over time this can start to close the loop on overall materials usage.  And once that gets proven then come the chance governments too will support and mandate this thinking.

Maybe, this is going to help see a new way that we can start to be a little more careful about what we are using.


You can help crowdfund Riversimple here.