Olivier Lombard is a 30-year-old French racing driver who decided in 2019 to found the company Hopium, thus becoming the first French manufacturer to be 100% hydrogen. We would first like to apologize for this title, since we know that Olivier Lombard does not like to be compared to Tesla.
The French pilot says he had a completely different story from that of Elon Musk, noting also that the CEO of Tesla does not believe in hydrogen at all. On Thursday, Hopium presented the Machina Alpha Zero, the company’s very first concept car.
Hydrogen is gaining ground
If its design may make you think of the Tesla Model S, here again the CEO of Hopium sets things straight by ensuring that in no case the Machina Alpha Zero was inspired by the reference car of the American manufacturer. This 100% hydrogen car has a power of 500 horsepower, as well as a range of 1,000 kilometers.
One of the big advantages of the Machina Alpha Zero over its electric competitors is its recharge time. It only takes 3 minutes to fully charge this car, against several tens of minutes for a Tesla for example.
The next step for Hopium therefore appears to be mass production. Since its debut in 2019, the French company has raised more than 7 million euros thanks to many private investors who seriously believe in this project. Hopium plans to start marketing its vehicles in 2025, and by 2030 it plans to ship 8,000 cars per year at 120,000 euros per unit.
As was the case with electricity (and sometimes still today) one of the brakes of hydrogen remains the recharging stations. In Europe we have very few hydrogen stations in 2021, and Hopium does not have the same resources as Tesla to deploy its own network of Superchargers. Olivier Lombard and his teams therefore rely heavily on the public authorities to set up several thousand stations.