Hydrogen-powered startups shine on the Paris Auto Present


A man stands next to a futuristic silver sedan
Enlarge / Olivier Lombard stands subsequent to the Hopium Machina.

Dhananjay Khadilkar

PARIS—A 500 hp (373 kW) automotive with a 621-mile (1000-km) vary reaching a most velocity of 143 mph (230 km/h); the world’s first automotive partially powered by detachable tanks… The fashionable and revolutionary Hopium Machina and NAMX SUV, each hydrogen powered autos developed by startups, have been among the many chief points of interest at this yr’s Paris Auto Present.

Contemplating that Hopium was based by a former Le Mans 24 hours winner, it isn’t a shock that Machina is performance-focused. Olivier Lombard, who received within the LMP2 class in 2011 at Le Mans, additionally had a stint as a growth driver of H24’s hydrogen-powered prototype that’s set to run in future Le Mans races. “As a racing driver, for a few years, I developed a race automotive with hydrogen expertise. That’s the reason I went for a efficiency automotive that additionally had vary and took between three to 4 minutes to refuel,” Lombard, who can also be the CEO of Hopium, instructed Ars Technica.

Lombard elaborated on the inspiration behind Machina. “If you end up a race automotive driver, you will have an in depth proximity together with your automotive. You might want to perceive the automotive and really feel its each transfer. We’ve got the identical closeness with Machina, whether or not it’s the automotive’s conduct on the street or the interactions inside like tactiles with haptic suggestions,” he stated.

The Machina is an elegant sedan.
Enlarge / The Machina is a sublime sedan.

Dhananjay Khadilkar

Based on Remi Voisin, a senior engineer at Hopium, what additionally made Machina stand out was its state-of-the-art gas cell expertise. “Ours is probably the most highly effective gas cell (200 kW peak energy) ever produced which may ship unique efficiency when it comes to vary, energy and vitality availability,” Voisin stated.

Voisin added that they’re aiming to start out manufacturing of Machina by the tip of 2025 or starting of 2026.

A tank and 6 pods

For the Paris-based NAMX (New automotive and mobility exploration), the motivation behind designing a SUV with detachable tanks was to discover a new resolution for hydrogen mobility. “Our CapXstore system prices a lot lower than the worth of constructing a hydrogen gas station, ” Thomas de Lussac, co-founder and head of design, instructed Ars Technica.

The excessive finish NAMX ‘HUV’ (Hydrogen Utility Automobile) will generate 550 hp (410 kW) and have a most velocity of 155 mph (250 km/h) with a most vary of 497 miles (800 km). Of that whole, 311 miles (500 km) will likely be offered by the primary fastened tank, whereas the automotive will be capable of run for an extra 186 miles (300 km) due to detachable “CapX” capsules full of hydrogen. “The NAMX HUV may have six such capsules, every with a 31 mile (50 km) vary,” de Lussac stated.

He added that these CapX capsules may be exchanged on the CapXstores that the corporate plans to put in by the start of 2026. “Our goal is to create a community of CapXstores the place these capsules will likely be out there. We plan to place a CapXstore each 45 km,” he stated. He added that the capsules may be crammed at hydrogen stations. Nonetheless, NAMX will not be producing its personal hydrogen however will quite buy it from current industrial suppliers.

De Lussac stated their intention was to increase the idea past vehicles to all types of mobility in addition to for boats and machine works.

The opposite hydrogen-powered autos on show included a Citroen mild industrial van with an 8.8-lb (4 kg) tank capability, a spread of 249 miles (400 km) and refueling time of three minutes. “The van makes use of a hybrid system of hydrogen and battery energy. The battery, which supplies a spread of fifty km, is charged by the gas cell,” Thierry Pinot of Stellantis instructed Ars Technica.

Battery electric vans like the Ford e-Transit might be all the rage, but this is Citroen's hydrogen fuel cell EV van
Enlarge / Battery electrical vans just like the Ford e-Transit is perhaps all the fashion, however that is Citroen’s hydrogen gas cell EV van

Dhananjay Khadilkar

Based on Pinot, the hydrogen hybrid system permits the van to have the identical payload capability as that of its inner combustion engine counterpart.

Lastly, the Paris auto present additionally featured an idea automotive with placing design known as Alpenglow. Developed by the French sports activities automotive producer Alpine—basically Renault’s sporting division—it is a futuristic single-seater powered by a hydrogen-powered inner combustion engine.

The Alpine Alpenglow concept draws inspiration from the Alpine A220. The driver sits in the middle, flanked on either side by a pair of 700-bar hydrogen tanks.
Enlarge / The Alpine Alpenglow idea attracts inspiration from the Alpine A220. The motive force sits within the center, flanked on both facet by a pair of 700-bar hydrogen tanks.

Dhananjay Khadilkar

Alpine says the Alpenglow “embodies the model’s revival, when it comes to design and expertise” and that it “units the tone as a supply of inspiration for all future Alpine fashions.” That stated, it isn’t destined for manufacturing and whereas Alpine has plans for light-weight electrical sportscars developed along with Lotus, it will be stunning to see an Alpine with a hydrogen inner combustion engine go on sale any time quickly, given the very low energy and effectivity that such engines generate.