Paris Motor Show: with Hopium and NamX, hydrogen is coming

Is the future of the automobile really electric? While the pros and antis are constantly ranting about the subject, the Paris Motor Show highlights a “new” technology in which more and more manufacturers believe: hydrogen.

And if Toyota has (again!) been a pioneer in this area with its Mirai, it is today the French brands that are the first of the rope. Alongside the Alpenglow concept unveiled by Alpine, two new French manufacturers are making a lot of noise in the aisles of the Porte de Versailles: Hopium, with the Machina Vision, and NamX with the HUV.

So, can the hydrogen car already be brought to replace the electric one as we know it?

Hopium Machina Vision: hydrogen made in Normandy

When we talk about a French car brand based in Normandy, we necessarily think first of Alpine and its factory in Dieppe! However, in the years to come, it may be to another name that we will also have to get used to: Hopium.

The brand started making headlines at the end of 2020 and unveiled Alpha 0its first rolling prototype, at the Vivatech 2021 show. For this Mondial 2022, we are getting a little closer to the final version hoped for 2025, with the Machina Vision. Oliver Lombardthe founder of Hopium, revealed some additional details about his luxury sedan.

Proudly enthroned on a huge stand, not far from the Peugeot bubble, the Machina Vision gives pride of place to minimalism. In a monolithic environment with mineral hues, the car invites contemplation and exploration. She’s here to establish “a new dialogue between man, nature and technology”. Obviously, this staging owes nothing to chance, because it is not simply a question of unveiling a new model, but of initiating the mobility of tomorrow. Changing the paradigm, as we will also see at NamX.

More concretely, the Hopium Machina Vision features lines reminiscent of a hypercar. No wonder when you know that its designer Felix Godard has notably worked for Porsche and Tesla. At the front, the light signature is futuristic, while the grille has been replaced by a Kinetic grille, designed to optimize battery cooling at the same time as the vehicle’s aerodynamics.

The Paris show is also an opportunity to discover the interior of the car for the first time. Bathed in light thanks to the glazed roof, it accommodates a huge retractable screen over the entire width of the dashboard. In the center, the haptic console promises a new sensory experience: simple finger movements should make it possible to navigate through the menus of the infotainment system and to make various settings in the cabin.

Futuristic, the Machina Vision certainly is. However, Olivier Lombard wants to believe that the model exhibited here is not so different from the car that we could see on our roads in 2025. We would like to believe it, as the performance of this hydrogen sedan is so promising: 500 horsepower, approximately 1000 km of autonomy and no more than 3 minutes to refuel the batteries. All for an estimated price of around 95,000 euros.

At Hopium, we believe that the future of mobility is here, that it will also allow us to participate in the revival of French industry. In Normandy, as far as we are concerned.

“We obviously still need hydrogen stations”proclaims the founder of the brand. “This is why we call on all players in the sector to work together. Because whether you like it or not, hydrogen is coming”

NamX: the SUV is dead, long live the HUV!

Like Hopium, NamX is a brand “coming from nowhere” but whose development is closely scrutinized by observers, the general public and specialists. It was in May 2022 that this funny name appeared to us for the first time, when we discovered the first images of the HUV, a vehicle designed in Italy by Pininfarina!

2022 NamX Global Hydrogen HUV

Behind the brand’s mysterious name (NamX for New Automotive and Mobility Exploration, a “new exploration of the automobile and mobility”) hide two men, Thomas de Lussac and Faouzi Annajah. “We started working on the project 5 years ago”explains the latter. “5 years ago, it was a blank sheet, a drawing. And today, it is with great pride that we are in Paris to present the HUV. »

HUV for Hydrogen Utility Vehicle, a new vision of what a modern car should be. The Italian design of this new coupé SUV is reminiscent of that of other versatile crossovers discovered recently (even the 408). A sleek and futuristic look, a front panel crossed out with a big X, a lighting signature that takes on the same shape like a wink emphasizing the name of the brand: the NamX is not lacking in allure, firmly planted on its 22-inch rims, while we will still have to wait until early 2023 to discover the interior.

NamX Hydrogen HUV

Anyway, what makes the specificity of this model is obviously not its look. Rather, it is what is hidden under the hood. And even at the rear of the vehicle, where 6 hydrogen capsules can be inserted in addition to the fixed tank to supply the battery responsible for driving the engine from 300 to 550 horsepower (for approximately 800 km of autonomy). Again, 3 minutes will be enough to refuel!

The NamX project must therefore be considered globally, based on two pillars: the HUV itself and the distribution of hydrogen. Because it is today the main black point, the big obstacle to the development of this technology: installing a station requires a substantial investment, “2 million euros including civil engineering”, according to Faouzi Annajah. NamX has therefore developed a system of self-service dispenser, modular and economical, not very different from the one we know for our gas cylinders. Except that the bottles would be replaced here by the famous capsules.

NamX Hydrogen Distributor

If we really want to develop hydrogen, we have to change the paradigm and break down all the barriers. And for that, the distribution must be changed in depth. But you will see that by 2025-2026, we will get there!

Like Olivier Lombard at Hopium, Faouzi Annajah strongly believes in his project. Pre-orders for his HUV are already open (with the first 2,022 numbered copies at the end of the year), prices being included between €65,000 and €95,000 depending on the version chosen.

NamX Hydrogen HUV

Paris Motor Show: with Hopium and NamX, hydrogen is coming