French start-up independent Hopium has confirmed that its new, hydrogen-powered luxury sedan – the Machina – will be produced at a brand-new facility in Normandy, construction of which is set to begin in late 2024.
Founded in 2019 by French racing driver Olivier Lombard, a former 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner in 2011, Hopium aims to showcase the capabilities of hydrogen-powered vehicles, as well as the reliability of its fuel cells, in what the company calls the “mid-luxury market.” Hopium’s first model, announced in October 2020, was conceptually presented as the ‘Alpha 0’ rolling prototype last June during Viva Technology week in Paris. Further development at the brand’s Linas-Montlhéry facility led to a near-production-ready version of the renamed ‘Machina Vision’ being revealed earlier this year in June.
Designed by Félix Godard (formerly of Porsche, Tesla and Lucid), the Machina Vision is set to make its global debut at next month’s Paris Motor Show.
Though full details have not yet been revealed, the vehicle’s hydrogen storage system, developed by Plastic Omnium, is said to offer up to 1,000 km of range, with 6 kg of hydrogen capable of being refilled in just three minutes. Alongside its electrical range, the Machina’s platform provides “more than 500 hp” and is said to be capable of 200 km/h. An admittedly small drop from the originally estimated 230 km/h.
Hopium’s confidence in its pre-production model was emphasized further when the French independent stated its intention to build “on an industrial scale,” opening pre-orders shortly after that for its first 1,000 examples. Each of which, as confirmed last September, has now been assigned with a mooted price tag of €120,000 (around $158K).
As part of its expansion, Hopium has now stated that a new 85-acre site, located in Douains, Normandy (about an hour north of Paris), will house production lines capable of turning ’round 20,000 vehicles per year. Inauguration is scheduled for early 2025 with the facility said to be capable of employing “more than 1,500 people across its divisions.”
“This is a major project that will contribute to France’s industrial renewal,” CEO Olivier Lombard explains. “We chose Normandy, a region that we believe has all the assets needed to host the factory of the future, starting with its unique geographic location between Paris and the Channel, reinforced by the Seine Axis, its industrial basin and its rich innovation hub, in which we are now involved in.
“Hopium, by selecting this site for the location of its cutting-edge infrastructure, is completing another decisive step in its roadmap, which should lead to the launch of the first Hopium Machina models on the market in late 2025.”
The site will also house the company’s R&D centre in a bid to develop further hydrogen-fueled vehicles down the line. In a notable move, Hopium also filed the first of 10 patent requests for the Machina Vision during the summer to “guarantee the protection of its know-how and the ownership of its technological innovations,” a nod to hydrogen’s ‘black swan’ stature in the motoring industry’s increasing green era.
Customer deliveries are expected to begin by 2025, Hopium envisioning an anticipated, onboard turnover of an on-board turnover of €120 million (just under $158 million) that same year en-route to hitting one €1 billion ($1.3 billion) in sales by 2030.