Eco-car investment in Powys fuels jobs hope
Hundreds of jobs could be created in Wales if a project to develop a lightweight, hydrogen-fuelled car in Powys takes off.
Riversimple Engineering has relocated to Llandrindod Wells from Ludlow with £3.5m Welsh government backing.
A new design of carbon-fibre car doing the equivalent of 240 miles per gallon is due to take to the road this summer.
The next goal would be to produce 20 cars for a 12-month public trial and then mass production.
As a mark of its green credentials, the company intends to lease rather than sell the vehicles, designed to last for 15 to 20 years.
If a trial proves successful, the next step would be volume production in a factory employing 220 people, making 5,000 cars a year in a location to be decided.
Previous attempts by the company to run public trials of a prototype car in England did not come to fruition.
But it hopes support from authorities in Wales - including test runs on private roads around the Royal Welsh showground near Builth Wells - will improve chances of success.
The firm's founder and chief engineer Hugo Spowers said more durable vehicles emitting only water vapour would reduce the environmental impact of the motor industry.
"We are making a real step change in how cars are built, their environmental performance and the ownership model," he said.
Economy Minister Edwina Hart welcomed the company's move to Wales, saying: "This is exactly the type of advanced R&D [research and development] technology investment we want to attract.
"I am delighted Wales is hosting this next stage of development, which is already creating highly skilled jobs with the potential for many more."