Presented at the VivaTech 2021 fair, the Hopium Machina Alpha 0 rolling demonstrator unleashed passions. Entirely designed and manufactured in the manufacturer’s laboratory, at the foot of the Montlhéry circuit, this car has the particularity of operating on the oxidation-reduction principle (dihydrogen Htwo and oxygen Otwo) in a fuel cell. The latter produces electricity that powers the engine, whose power is increased to 500 hp. Above all, the fuel cell rejects only water, allowing for zero local emissions.
A year later, the French manufacturer presents the Hopium Machina Vision, the concept car which should be the closest to the production model, and offers an immersion inside the cabin for the first time. The interior offers a very refined space, made of tense and curved lines that should echo the “purityThe floating center console comprises a haptic feedback control panel for interacting with the infotainment display and controlling the gearbox selection (PRND).
The flexible OLED screen that runs along the bottom of the windshield compartment is retractable. It can be deployed on demand, in landscape format, and integrates the on-board computer in front of the driver and the comfort information (air conditioning, climate, navigation, music, etc.) in the center; on the right, in front of the passenger, gives access to a panel of application icons. A priorithe screen retracts during autonomous driving.
In the back, only two passengers seem to be able to occupy the place, but the seats can stretch out like in the Audi A8, for example, to offer a view of the panoramic glass roof that becomes opaque or illuminates with a simple wave of the hand. . Also note that the front seatbacks incorporate a touch-sensitive and connected screen.
From the outside, the silhouette doesn’t change, but it still offers a particularly elegant design. The line is both muscular, with very wide hips and flared fenders, and flowing, with low ground clearance and a low roofline. The headlamps feature an original design reminiscent of waves on the surface of the water, while the active grille opens on demand to help cool the fuel cell. Finally, the doors do not need handles and open automatically when the driver approaches.
If we don’t have any other technical details at the moment, Olivier Lombard, CEO of the Hopium brand, former winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in LPM2 and test driver in the Green GT LMPH2G category, seems cool. According to him, the schedule is respected. he declares to the microphone of BFM Business : “We have a vision that is starting to become extremely clear in terms of industrialization, we already have two locations where we want to produce in France that have been selected. We have a very clear vision of how we are going to do things in the time available.“
“The idea is, of course, also to appeal to partnersThe hydrogen tanks, for example, are made of carbon and come from French manufacturer Plastic Omnium; the traction chain, the origin of which remains a secret, also comes from suppliers interested in the project.
For Olivier Lombard, the Hopium Machina comes at the right time, as the majority of MEPs voted to ban the sale of vehicles with combustion engines from 2035, while the French government adopted 7 billion euros staggered until 2030 to the hydrogen sector, with a planned network of 1,000 charging stations. “The electric remains unsuitable for big riders and for covering long distances, it’s a transition“, he told us last year.
It is worth remembering that 95% of hydrogen production today comes from methane steam reforming, a chemical process that consists of producing hydrogen from the methane present in natural gas or biomethane. Only the remaining 5% is produced by the electrolysis of water, making it possible to break the water molecule (HtwoO) into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen.
If the process still suffered from unfavorable energy efficiency, new technologies make it possible, using 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 permeable through seals and materials), its explosive properties and its self-igniting nature Overpacks make transport difficult. These challenges, however, are being studied and dozens of projects are under development 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 take place from 17 to 23 October.