More than 800 jobs could be created by pioneering car factory in Scotland

Hugo Spowers
Hugo Spowers

By Ian McConnell

A MANUFACTURING plant for a pioneering hydrogen car could be built in Aberdeen, creating more than 800 jobs, if the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid succeeds.

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce said Riversimple – the inventor of the Rasa hydrogen vehicle – is in “active talks” about locating a 150,000 sq ft manufacturing plant in Aberdeen.

It added that the plant which is under discussion would produce in excess of 5,000 vehicles per year. Riversimple is beta-testing a small fleet of Rasas, with a new car also under development for production.

Riversimple founder Hugo Spowers believes the two-seater Rasa eco-coupe is “the most energy-efficient car on the planet”. The BBC’s Top Gear has billed it as “the car which wants to save the world”.

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University of Oxford graduate Mr Spowers, a trained engineer, has visited north-east Scotland to look at potential sites after being invited by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber declared Riversimple had since signed a letter supporting the North East Scotland Green Freeport bid, saying the tax status, together with the energy sector supply chain already based in the region, would “significantly increase” the likelihood of the company investing.

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“One of the locations we are considering for the establishment of operations is the North East of Scotland,” the letter states, according to the chamber. The letter adds: “We are in discussions with regional partners about the possibility of establishing a manufacturing plant…encouraging the clustering of supply-chain companies and other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) within the hydrogen sector.”

The Scottish and UK governments are working together to create two green freeports in Scotland by next year. The special economic zones will offer tax breaks and lower business tariffs aimed at stimulating investment.

The chamber said Riversimple representatives were due to join parliamentarians and business leaders at a breakfast in the Palace of Westminster this morning – hosted by Banff & Buchan MP David Duguid.

The North East Scotland Green Freeport consortium – led by the Port of Aberdeen, Peterhead Port Authority, Aberdeen International Airport, and the region’s two local authorities – has said it would use the designation to place the area at the heart of the global energy transition.