LLANDRINDOD Wells based hydrogen car company, Riversimple, is launching its first 12-month public trial with Monmouthshire County Council.

The ‘Rasa’ has a range of 300 miles, refills in three minutes and has ‘no cost premium’ compared with a conventional car.

The firm will supply 20 hand-built hydrogen cell cars for three or six-month contracts, to be driven by 60 to 80 residents in the county.

It marks the start of the company’s ambitious plans to kick-start hydrogen infrastructure in the UK by developing a community of users around a single hydrogen refuelling station.

As part of the initiative, a self-service, mobile refuelling point is planned for the council car parks at Abergavenny or Monmouth.

Over the next 20 years, Riversimple plans to build a distributed network of compact and efficient manufacturing plants that will regenerate communities and create thousands of jobs.

Company founder Hugo Spowers said: “As a Welsh company, we are excited to launch the first UK trial in Wales. The Monmouth and Riversimple partnership can bring a momentous change in the way mobility is delivered in a sustainable way. This trial is a first for the UK and has global significance.”

The short distances between towns in the county are described as “ideal” for testing the cars, which are designed for local non-motorway use, with a top speed of 60mph.

Riversimple will cover the running costs of the cars, the temporary building of an “experience centre” and provide customer relations.

At last month’s London Motor Show, Spowers unveiled two new concept vehicles, based on the Rasa.

A light goods vehicle and a four-seater car.

The designs form part of Riversimple’s plans to revolutionise the motor industry.

The Welsh company launched the Rasa this spring, and started crowd-funding in April to match a £2m EU grant.

It also received £2 million from the Welsh Government in 2015.

It plans the 20-car test in 2016/17 with commercially available cars in 2018.

The concept vehicles will be developed at a later stage, following initial roll out.

Riversimple’s plans echo a global shift, the UK government predicts 1.3m hydrogen cars will be on the road by 2030 and McKinsey Global Institute estimates that the clean tech product market will reach £1 trillion by 2020.

The Rasa is believed to be the most efficient car in the world designed for ordinary road-going use (CO2 emissions of 40g/km) and has no tailpipe emissions - just water.

Visit Riversimple.com to find out more.