Hopium: Olivier Lombard, the Frenchman who wants to create the Tesla of the hydrogen car

“The electric car is a transition, the solution of the future is hydrogen.” Such is the conviction of this racing driver, the youngest winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in history. And with Hopium, the company he founded in 2019, he intends to demonstrate it. His team, based in Montlhéry, presented last June a first prototype of its Machina, a black feline that looks like a sports car. Its objective: to launch its production in 2025 and reach a billion turnover in 2030.

A sweet dreamer? Not sure. The project has so far received an enthusiastic reception. Available for pre-order, the Machina already has 1,000 potential customers. Or, at 120,000 euros per model, an “on-board” turnover of 120 million. On the partner side, Olivier Lombard has surrounded himself with big names from PSA, Symbio (the joint venture of Faurecia and Michelin in hydrogen) or even Safran. “We are moving quickly and well, without making any mistakes”, welcomes the 30-year-old boss.

He also convinced Plastic Omnium (for hydrogen storage) and Saint-Gobain (for glazing) to work with him. Finally, financially, Hopium successfully listed on Euronext Access as well as a capital increase of 7 million euros.

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Nevertheless, we will have to change scale quickly. Raise a lot of money: 100 million euros in the coming months, 300 to 400 million in the longer term according to his calculations. Going from a prototype to the pre-series: “We are aiming for 1,000 kilometers of autonomy and a recharge time of three minutes, explains Olivier Lombard. We have to optimize the entire global propulsion system.”

Finally, find the factories to manufacture the machine: “We plan to ally with global industrial partners,” adds the boss, who evokes a decentralized organization. Last challenge: the Machina intends to use green hydrogen, that is to say from carbon-free electricity. We can bet that the State, which has planned to devote 7 billion euros by 2030 to this technology, will follow the file with interest.

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