Automotive

Hopium rolls out a prototype of its handsome hydrogen-powered sedan

Hopium rolls out a prototype o...
The Hopium Machina is a 500-horsepower hydrogen performance sedan
The Hopium Machina is a 500-horsepower hydrogen performance sedan
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The Hopium Machina is a 500-horsepower hydrogen performance sedan
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The Hopium Machina is a 500-horsepower hydrogen performance sedan
The chassis is nearly as flat as a battery-electric
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The chassis is nearly as flat as a battery-electric
One large 700-bar hydrogen tank runs up the middle of the floor, and a second sits sideways at the back of the car
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One large 700-bar hydrogen tank runs up the middle of the floor, and a second sits sideways at the back of the car
A handsome four-door sedan in profile
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A handsome four-door sedan in profile
A sporty-looking back end
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A sporty-looking back end
View gallery - 5 images

French company Hopium has wasted no time getting a prototype up and running. The company announced its intentions to build high-performance hydrogen cars in October 2020, and has now shown video of its Alpha 0 car on a test track hitting 200 km/h (124 mph).

The production car, called the Machina, promises more than 500 horsepower, speeds over 230 km/h (143 mph), and range over 1,000 km (620 miles) on a full pair of H2 tanks. Expect that 500 hp to be a shortish burst figure, with just how long depending on the size of the buffer battery.

Two 700-bar hydrogen tanks are supplied by Plastic Omnium out of Belgium. One runs up the middle of the chassis floor, another shorter one sits sideways under the trunk, with the fuel cell stack at the front. It's a much flatter chassis in the renders than your average combustion car, but not as compact as a battery-electric chassis. It'll also be a lot faster to fill up, says Hopium, taking about three minutes at a hydrogen pump.

One large 700-bar hydrogen tank runs up the middle of the floor, and a second sits sideways at the back of the car
One large 700-bar hydrogen tank runs up the middle of the floor, and a second sits sideways at the back of the car

The Hopium car looks terrific, as if its designers have been paying attention to Aston Martin's work. Its signature element, says the company, will be its wavy headlight design, which does indeed look pretty snazzy. We'd be surprised if it doesn't handle, too – Hopium's founder Olivier Lombard is a talented race car driver. In 2011, he took out the LMP2 class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, becoming the youngest-ever Le Mans winner.

Hydrogen is shaping up as a hot sector in the renewable energy game thanks to its ability to store renewable energy in a transportable form. But it's going to be tough to start with – at the end of 2020 there were only 553 hydrogen stations in the world. Japan was leading the world with 142, while France's 34 stations placed it second in Europe behind Germany with 100. New hydrogen station builds are accelerating, though, and this trend is likely to continue as hydrogen begins to prove the value of a high-density, fast-filling, liquid electro-fuel in the long-haul trucking sector.

Would a fully built-out fueling infrastructure make hydrogen a great choice for passenger cars? Yes, under some circumstances. It'll be better than a battery-electric for long days on the highway, since you can fuel up and hit the road roughly as quickly as today's gasoline cars. It'll also be better for people that don't have the ability to charge at home, like many apartment dwellers. Outside those use cases, batteries will likely still make more sense for most city dwellers.

A sporty-looking back end
A sporty-looking back end

Hopium has opened up the order books and is now taking €410 (US$488) deposits for the first thousand Machinas off the line, with full prices starting at a fairly brutal €120,000 (US$143,000) and deliveries estimated to begin in 2025.

"The Hopium teams are already fully committed in carrying out the next steps," reads a company press release, "aiming to produce Hopium Machina on an industrial scale, with a new rendez-vous expected in the first quarter of 2022."

Check out a video below.

Hopium Machina Alpha 0 hits the road!

Source: Hopium

View gallery - 5 images
3 comments
3 comments
Spud Murphy
Oh dear, another hydrogen fantasy car that will do nothing to reduce emissions and just divert attention away from BEVs, which are already vastly better than any hydrogen vehicle will ever be...
freddotu
@Spud Murphy, I'm constantly amazed that the hype is how good hydrogen is for powering a motor vehicle, or powering anything, but that ignores the energy involved in creating and transporting the stuff. Most of the negative aspects I've seen in media regarding how bad BEVs are, compared to ICEVs also ignores the infrastructure in fuel refining and transport as well. With BEVs, most of the infrastructure is already in place and in current use. Most, because not everybody has an EVSE installed.
Ben Wah
prototypes are easy, mass production is hard. isnt hydrogen like dangerous to work with and needs fossil fuel to produce?