Namx and Hopium hydrogen cars stand out among electric cars at Paris Motor Show

The two French brands Hopium and NamX are betting on hydrogen as a future solution for mobility. They chose to showcase their vision at the Paris Motor Show.

This 2022 edition of the Mondial de Paris can be a great platform for many still little-known brands. As many large manufacturers have decided not to exhibit at the event, this gives all other exhibitors more visibility. If Chinese manufacturers attract a lot of attention at this motor show, two stands of French brands also intrigue visitors: Hopium in hall 4 and NamX in hall 6.

In the midst of a show where the electric vehicle is king, the two automakers, which promote hydrogen, clash a little.

Hopium: a great ultra-minimalist stand

For visitors entering Hall 4 of the Paris Motor Show, the Hopium stand immediately stands out from the rest of the stands. More minimalist than the Hopium stand, you probably won’t find it. The brand opted for a large surface devoid of furniture, just displaying a round podium in the center with its Hopium Machina Vision, without any other gimmicks. Everything else is white, except for some writing projected on the wall. It leaves a strange impression, especially compared to the opulence of the Stellantis and BYD group stands located nearby.

Hopium Machina Vision. // Source: Raphaelle Baut

This staging is far from trivial. Its effect hits the mark of the visitors. Observing the booth’s movements during public days, we noticed that visitors are even more intrigued by this empty space. People approach the luxury sedan, which is in the center, to understand what it is about.

Hopium and its exquisite stand at the Mondial de Paris // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Hopium and its minimalist stand at the Mondial de Paris. // Source: Raphaelle Baut

The Hopium Machina Vision sedan has a design as refined as its case, the two combine perfectly. By discreetly listening to the visitors present, we realized that the aesthetics of the car please. However, passersby do not always immediately understand that this is a hydrogen-powered future model.

The top-of-the-line sedan designed by the French brand should see the light of day in 2025. Hopium’s objective is to offer a vehicle capable of offering 500 hp and 1,000 km of autonomy thanks to its hydrogen engine. Hopium targets the high-end segment with a particularly well-appointed interior and quality materials.

Olivier Lombard - CEO of Hopium at the Paris World Cup // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Olivier Lombard, CEO of Hopium at the Mondial de Paris. // Source: Raphaelle Baut

The Hopium project, a high-performance hydrogen sedan, was launched in 2019 by Olivier Lombard, a former driver turned CEO. After the concept was announced in August 2021, the young brand was back in the spotlight when the former minister in charge of transport joined the company (he was also present during the show’s press day). Just before the Paris World Cup, Hopium announced that its factory would open in Normandy. Olivier Lombard told journalists at the show that he is now looking forward to laying the foundation stone of the factory to make this fundamental new stage of the project a reality.

NamX and its hydrogen refills like some electric scooters

NamX takes a different approach than Hopium. Namx’s hydrogen SUV was unveiled in May 2022. Behind a Pininfarina design, NamX relies heavily on its hydrogen charging pod innovation to conquer the market.

NamX and its hydrogen HUV // Source: Raphaelle Baut
NamX and its hydrogen HUV. // Source: Raphaelle Baut

With this capsule system, NamX is looking for a solution to overcome the shortage of hydrogen stations in France, while promising a very fast recharge to its future customers. The 6 capsules complete the main hydrogen tank and therefore offer up to 800 km of theoretical range for this concept in this configuration.

This removable charging system is found on certain electric vehicles such as scooters or even the XEV Yoyo microcar. However, this is not about storing simple batteries, but secondary hydrogen tanks, which implies much more advanced logistics to fill these walls with capsules. The NamX HUV transforms the hydrogen in the capsules into electricity by a fuel cell. It should be offered until 2025 in two engines of 300 or 550 hp, for a price between 65,000 and 95,000 €.

Wall of NamX capsules at the Mondial de Paris // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Wall of NamX capsules at the Mondial de Paris. // Source: Raphaelle Baut

The Paris Motor Show was an opportunity for the brand to simultaneously present to the public the vehicle with the look of a very daring SUV coupé, but also the storage seats for the NamX hydrogen capsules. Ultimately, it is this second, very visual element that attracts the attention of visitors to the manufacturer’s stand. However, we are not sure that the message is very clear to visitors passing by the booth.

Despite being positioned at the back of hall 6, it was noticed that visitors remained around the vehicle and its capsule wall. This gives a bit of visibility to this very audacious French project.

NamX Hydrogen Removable Capsule System // Source: Raphaelle Baut
NamX Hydrogen Removable Capsule System. // Source: Raphaelle Baut

Hydrogen remains a complex issue, perhaps even more sensitive than the electric car. It is difficult to know whether this fuel will succeed in becoming more popular in the face of the steamroller represented by the battery-powered electric car. Will these two concepts, Hopium and NamX, really see the light of day in 2025? For now, it’s hard to be sure. Between the issues of yield, cost and the controversies surrounding hydrogen production, it is an interesting and thorny subject to follow.

Leave a Comment