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The hydrogen-powered car trying to take on Tesla

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While automakers are fixated on developing the next generation of electric cars, one British firm has other ideas.

Riversimple is hoping that its hydrogen-powered two-seater car, which has a futuristic design crossed with retro traits, might be able to offer a viable alternative to electric vehicles.

The Wales-based company has created a car called Rasa. It says it runs on 1.5 kilograms of hydrogen and can go 300 miles. The vehicle’s engineering is very different to other cars on the market. For example, it has a motor on each wheel.

It is powered by reverse electrolysis. Hydrogen and oxygen are combined to create electricity and water is a by-product that drips out of the exhaust.

“All the major auto manufacturers are building hydrogen cars but they are trying to retrofit the technology into the sort of cars they make. And they’re all, effectively, built the same way as cars have … been for the last hundred years. The petrol engine taken out and a fuel cell put in place. We’ve started from a clean sheet of paper,” Hugo Spowers, founder of Riversimple, told CNBC in an interview aired Friday.

Riversimple’s car is taking on other hydrogen models like the Toyota Mirai, but also electric vehicles from the likes of Tesla and other major automakers.

It is hoping its business model might help it differentiate. Riversimple won’t let anyone own one of its cars. Instead will allow people to pay monthly to drive the car. And that fee also includes a refill of hydrogen as well as insurance.

“It’s more like a mobile phone. It’s a single direct debit that covers all the running costs. It includes insurance and it even includes fuel … But it completely changes the sort of car that we build, because it’s an asset on our balance sheet, and the longer we can keep it generating revenue the better, the more efficient it is the better … and the lower maintenances the better,” Spowers said.

A Rasa can travel 300 miles on full fuel versus 335 miles for a Tesla Model S on a single charge. But Spowers claims that the energy efficiency is better on a hydrogen car.

“Energy efficiency is probably the single metric we have really got to chase in the future. Batteries are very heavy and the efficiency of a car depends on the weight of the car hugely. So batteries are really good for short-range applications. But at about 100, or 120 miles, we believe we can make a more efficient hydrogen car than a battery car. And if you’re talking a 300 mile range, 400 mile … it’s chalk and cheese, it’s so much more efficient,” Spowers told CNBC.

Riversimple is currently producing a handful of cars with the aim of having mass production by 2020.

Interestingly, Spowers said the company will open source its technology designs meaning other carmakers could theoretically copy them. The Riversimple founder says this is not an issue because the market is big enough.

“What we want is those standards to become ubiquitous. We are using different fuel cells … We want people to copy us because effectively, we are building different cars to the industry and we want to build volumes in (the) supply chain to reduce our costs,” Spowers told CNBC.

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Why international stocks could outperform U.S. markets in 2021

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Larry King, award-winning broadcaster, has died at age 87

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LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 23: Talk show host Larry King attends the 68th Los Angeles Area Emmy Awards at Television Academy on July 23, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

Michael Tullberg | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Larry King, the legendary American broadcaster who was a fixture of cable news for decades, has died. He was 87.

King passed away Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to Ora Media, the company King founded after leaving CNN. No information was immediately available about his cause of death.

King was host of a CNN talk show that became one of the network’s most-watched and longest-running programs.

King was hospitalized for the coronavirus in December. He also had confronted many medical issues, including Type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, quintuple bypass surgery and lung cancer.

His medical issues inspired him to start the Larry King Cardiac Foundation in 1988. The nonprofit aims to help those without health insurance afford medical care.

King began his broadcast journalism career in Florida in the 1950s and gained prominence in the late ’70s as host of “The Larry King Show,” an all-night nationwide call-in radio program.

CNN launched the “Larry King Live” television talk show in 1985, and it ran until 2010.

His awards included two Peabodys, an Emmy and 10 Cable ACE Awards.

For the most part King, conducted his interviews from the studio and wearing his signature suspenders. He was known for asking easy, open-ended questions to guests, making him an attractive interviewer to important figures in politics and Hollywood.

In 2012, King co-founded a production company called Ora TV with Mexican media magnate Carlos Slim. Through that company, King hosted the webs series “Larry King Now” which was made available on the streaming service Hulu.

King was married eight times to seven women and fathered five children. His children with then-wife Alene Akins, Andy and Chaia King, died within weeks of each other in the summer of 2020. Andy, 65, died unexpectedly of a heart attack in July, and Chaia, 51, died in August after being diagnosed with lung cancer. Akins, a former Playboy bunny, died in 2017.

King had three other sons: Larry Jr. from his brief marriage to Annette Kaye and sons Chance and Cannon from his marriage to Shawn Southwick. King filed for divorce from Southwick in 2019.

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Former ambassador warns expiration of key nuclear treaty with Russia would make the U.S. ‘worse off’

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The Biden administration has pushed to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, with Russia for five years, which is set to expire on Feb. 5. The nuclear agreement regulates and limits how many nuclear weapons each country can have. Russian officials on Friday said they welcome the news. 

Michael McFaul told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” that the expiration of New START with Russia would make the U.S. “worse off.” 

“We would lose our verification ability to look inside and look at Russia’s nuclear arsenal,” said McFaul, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. “Remember Ronald Reagan used to say, ‘Trust but verify?’ I say don’t trust, only verify, and the New START treaty allows us to do this. I think it is the right decision by the new Biden team to extend it.”

Joel Rubin is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs, where he worked with members of Congress on multiple national security issues, including nuclear security. He agreed with McFaul and told “The News with Shepard Smith” that the accord stabilizes relations between the two nuclear powers. 

“The Trump Administration tried to use its delay of renewal of the treaty as leverage but failed to get anything in return, putting the entire treaty at risk,” said Rubin, who was also the Policy Director for Ploughshares Fund, the country’s leading nuclear security foundation. “We need stability between the U.S. and Russia, who combined hold more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. Renewal of New START will do that.”

Relations between Moscow and the U.S. are fraught amid the massive cyberattack targeting federal agencies, interference in U.S. elections, and the recent arrest of the Russian opposition leader Alexie Navalny. President Joe Biden will ask his Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines to review Russia’s interference in the 2020 election, according to the Washington Post

McFaul told host Shepard Smith that he thinks the response against Russia will likely be sanctions, but that the Biden administration has choices when it comes to penalties against Russia.

“The easy thing to do is to sanction a bunch of no-name colonels, FSB, the successor group to the KGB, and check the box,” McFaul said. “The more bold move would be to sanction some of those that enable the Putin regime, including some of the economic oligarchs that support Putin.”

Rubin added that the U.S. should also work closely with European and Asian allies to pressure Russia to change and address its internal repression and its aggressive international behavior, “rather than push them away and reduce the diplomatic pressure on Russia, as the Trump Administration did.”

McFaul told Smith that he wasn’t sure if President Joe Biden wanted to expend the political capital to get tougher with Russia, because of domestic issues that the U.S. is facing, including Covid and an economic crisis. McFaul added, however, he believes it’s possible for Biden to do both. 

“I think you could walk and chew gum at the same time, I think you should be able to do both at the same time, but we’ll have to wait and see what they choose to do,” McFaul said.  

Rubin told “The News with Shepard Smith”  that he thinks it’s time for the U.S. to be “hard headed” when it comes to Russia and President Vladimir Putin. 

“We should neither be afraid of nor kowtow to Moscow any longer, nor should we expect that we can make US-Russia relations better through kid gloves diplomacy,” Rubin said.

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