The 100% Norman hydrogen car was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show

The Hopium Machina was revealed on Monday at the launch of the Paris Motor Show. This advanced hydrogen-powered sedan will be manufactured in Vernon. A project led by the former winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Olivier Lombard.

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An unmissable event for lovers of beautiful cars, the World Motor Show is an opportunity every two years to see the latest concepts and designs from major brands. This Monday, October 17, the opening date of the show, the start-up Hopium honored Normandy by presenting its latest high-end hydrogen car, the Hopium Machina. The latter will be manufactured near the town of Vernon, in Eure, in a new factory scheduled to open in 2024.

Hopium has chosen to bet on hydrogen for its brand new sedan, at a time when there is talk of fuel shortages and electric cars. Specifically, the Hopium Machina is powered by a fuel cell that generates electricity. This cell itself is powered by a chemical reaction between two gases: hydrogen (H2) stored in tanks in the vehicle and oxygen (O2). The chemical reaction of these two gases produces electricity, heat and also water vapour, which escapes in the form of gas through a pipe located under the vehicle.

And it is no coincidence that the CEO of Hopium, Olivier Lombard, naturally turned to hydrogen energy. This former French driver, winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, became familiar with this technology a few years ago when he was a development driver in a hydrogen racing car.

In terms of technical characteristics, the Hopium Machina has a range of 1000 km and above all “can be recharged in a maximum of 4 minutes“, says Olivier Lombard proudly. With its 500 horsepower, it will be able to reach a top speed of 203 km/h.

If Olivier Lombard believes in the future of hydrogen, he also believes that Normandy is a region with high production and distribution potential for his Hopium Machina. “There is a strategic location on the Seine axis in Normandy. With Arianegroup, an ecosystem around hydrogen is already in place, so it is interesting”, explains the managing director of Hopium, which plans to produce green hydrogen around Le Havre. The Normandy region would also have been receptive to his project. “I was surprised by the dynamism of the region and its good reception of our project. We want to make it a technology capital for Europe and hydrogen”. More than making the Vernon area a center for hydrogen technology in France, Olivier Lombard hopes to offer 1,500 jobs with his new plant in Normandy.

Note to enthusiasts, if the latest creation of the startup is already available for pre-order, please be patient before you can run Hopium Machina. Work on the construction of the factory in Vernon will begin at the beginning of 2023, so that the first deliveries of the vehicles will be secured in 2025. However, for this high-end car, count on a very large budget: 120,000 euros. But for a collector and limited edition. Only 20,000 cars will be offered for sale.

In France, the hydrogen car is one of the newest technologies on the market, and with only 14 vehicles sold in 2021, it is struggling to become more popular among individuals. In particular, it is about its price: at least 65,000 euros, and it is still struggling to develop. Another limitation for individuals is the ability to recharge the car’s fuel, as there are only 60 hydrogen stations in France, half of which are reserved for professionals. For François Roudier, an expert in the automotive industry, this type of vehicle should develop particularly “for industrial vehicles, buses and trucks”.

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