Hopium Machina: the future French hydrogen sedan reveals its interior

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It makes more than one dream about it, but the challenge to be taken up is enormous. Pyt, Olivier Bompard, firmly believes in it: Hopium Machina, the luxurious French hydrogen sedan, will be well marketed in 2025. In the meantime, it reveals its interior.

Presented at the VivaTech 2021 show, Hopium Machina Alpha 0 rolling demonstrator had unleashed passions. Completely designed and manufactured in the manufacturer’s laboratory, at the foot of the Montlhéry circuit, this car has the special feature of operating on the principle of oxidation-reduction (dihydrogen H2 and oxygen O2) in a fuel cell. The latter produces electricity, which drives the engine, whose power here is increased to 500 hp. Above all, the fuel cell rejects only water, thus allowing zero local emissions.

A year later, the French producer Hopium Machina Vision reveals it concept car which should be closest to the production model, and offers for the first time an immersion in the cabin. The interior offers a very refined space, made of tight lines and curves that should reproduce “purity“of hydrogen. The floating center console consists of a haptic feedback control panel for interacting with the infotainment screen and controlling the gearbox selection (PRND).

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The flexible OLED screen that runs along the bottom of the windshield can be retracted. It can be installed as needed, in landscape format, and integrates the built-in computer in front of the driver and the comfort information (air conditioning, weather, navigation, music, etc.) in the middle; to the right, opposite the passenger, it gives access to a panel of application icons. A priorithe screen is retracted during autonomous driving.

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hopium machina vision electric car hydrogen fuel cell most beautiful car

At the rear, only two passengers seem to be able to take a seat, but the seats can be extended as in, for example, the Audi A8 to provide a view of the panoramic glass roof, which becomes opaque or brightens with a simple wave of the hand. Also note that the back of the front seats has a touch screen and connected.

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On the outside, the silhouette does not change, but still offers a particularly nice design. The line is both muscular, with very wide hips and inflated fenders, and fluid, with low ground clearance and low roofline. The headlights have an original design reminiscent of waves on the water surface, while the active grille opens as needed to help cool the fuel cell. Finally, the doors do without handles and open automatically when the driver approaches.

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If we do not have other technical details at the moment, Olivier Lombard, CEO of the Hopium brand, former winner of 24 Hours of Le Mans in LPM2 and test driver in the Green GT LMPH2G category, seems calm. According to him, the schedule is adhered to. he declares at the microphone at BFM Business : “We have a vision that is starting to become extremely clear on the industrialization aspect, we already have two places where we want to produce in France that have been selected. We have a very clear vision of how we will do things in the time available.

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The idea is of course also to appeal to partners“, for example, he told us in an earlier interview. The hydrogen tanks, for example, are made of carbon and come from the French manufacturer Plastic Omnium; the traction chain, the origin of which remains secret, also comes from suppliers interested in the project.

For Olivier Lombard, Hopium Machina comes at the right time, insofar as the majority of MEPs voted to ban the marketing of internal combustion motor vehicles from 2035, while the French government adopted a € 7 billion deferred until 2030 for the hydrogen sector, with a planned network of 1,000 charging stations. “The electric remains unsuitable for large riders and to travel great distances, it is a transition“, he told us last year.

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As a reminder, 95% of hydrogen production today comes from steam methane reforming, a chemical process that consists of producing hydrogen from the methane found in natural gas or biomethane. Only the remaining 5% is produced by electrolysis of water, which makes it possible to break down the water molecule (H2O) in its two components, hydrogen and oxygen.

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If the process still suffered from unfavorable energy efficiency, new technologies make it possible, from solar, wind or renewable energy, to produce hydrogen. For the government, the goal is to achieve 52% carbon-free hydrogen in France by 2030. Let us also remember that the storage of hydrogen (its molecule is particularly leaky through seals and materials), its explosive properties and its self-igniting nature. if overcompressed makes it difficult to transport. These challenges are nonetheless being explored, and dozens of projects are in the development phase or have already been completed.

There are already 1,000 reservations for Hopium Machina. The model will be presented in Paris during the 2022 edition of the Mondial de l’Auto, which will be held from 17 to 23 October.

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