Hopium, a French luxury hydrogen sedan


NEWS – Dreaming of a fuel cell car in Tesla, former driver Olivier Lombard has just presented his first model.

Hydrogen is the future of the automobile. This is what Olivier Lombard thinks, who took advantage of the Viva Technology week in Paris to unveil the Machina last Thursday, a car nearly 5 meters long using fuel cell technology powered by this energy. « The 100% electric car is a transition step on the hydrogen road », assures this thirty-something who has swapped his pilot’s suit for the entrepreneur’s suit. If he has so much ambition, it is because this former leader of endurance racing pelotons, crowned with a category victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, contributed to the development of the Mission H24 prototype which will serve as a basis. to the hydrogen racing car launched in the Sarthe in 2024. A project that he abandoned to focus 100% on the Hopium brand founded in 2019. Since then, this born competitor has not wasted his time. In just two years, he managed to raise funds to finance his program and build a first rolling prototype from a blank sheet of paper. The choice fell on a sedan, the most efficient architecture in terms of aerodynamics. The lines of this first model combine the influences of the Porsche Taycan, Tesla and Lucid. This is no coincidence: the author of the Machina, the French designer Félix Godard, went to the three manufacturers.

Raul Cabrera

Now engaged in a new stage which should lead to the design of several development prototypes, the young manufacturer can rely on a team of around thirty people installed on the site of the Montlhéry circuit but also an engineering studio based in Munich and a technology hub in Los Angeles. The hydrogen car, Olivier Lombard is convinced, has enormous potential. It announces a range of 1,000 km thanks to its 10 kilogram hydrogen tank installed in a T-shape under the floor and which can be recharged in three minutes. « On an electric car, even taking into account the progress made on the batteries, we will never achieve this type of performance », he assures. The Machina aims for a top speed of nearly 230 km / h thanks to a power of 500 hp. Its marketing will not take place before early 2026 from 120,000 euros but Hopium has already opened pre-orders for a first numbered edition of 1,000 vehicles. The booking voucher was set at 410 euros, with reference to the light spectrum of hydrogen.

Hopium

The start-up, which wants to become the French Tesla, plans to produce between 1,700 and 2,000 cars per year, initially. In 2030, the objective is to reach 8,000 units on an annual basis. An ambition far from being disproportionate. Hopium will however have to deal with the models that the builders of the old world are designing. Toyota and Hyundai are already offering hydrogen vehicles on the market. Next year, it will be BMW’s turn to launch a small series of the X5 equipped with this technology. By then, Hopium may have chosen its future production site.

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