Interview of Hopium: a French leading hydrogen player

A truthful interview with Hopium

On the occasion of an exceptional interview, Hydrogen Today was able to bring together part of the Hopium team. Many points were covered during this exchange, which lasted about 40 minutes. This truthful interview of Hopium focused especially on the fuel cell technology and on the technical skills of the young company. Indeed, Hopium has been able to attract talents from a wide range of backgrounds since it was created in 2019.

This video talk was expected from both friends and foes of the young start-up. At Hydrogen Today, which aims to reflect the hydrogen industry, we stick to the facts. Therefore, we go for the source of information. As a matter of fact, we have been following the project from the beginning. We had met Olivier Lombard, the founder of Hopium, just before he created the brand. He even took us on board the prototype MissionH24. As for Hopium, for whom the ‘friendly’ media are more scarce, it was an opportunity to show that the project is genuine and concrete, while reaffirming that the company is not a trap for subsidies (it would actually need some).

The interview featured Sylvain Laurent, CEO; Natan Lenain, Fuel Cell system architect; Jérémy Hattenberger, Chief of modeling and simulation; Julien Carrié, Chief of Body & Platform Engineering.

A technology that is three years ahead of its time

With a competitive spirit, the entire team is trying to demonstrate that it has a part to play in hydrogen mobility. The management is actually working on this, striving to convince financial partners. Let’s not forget that Hopium is first and foremost a team of engineers, with talents ranging from the automotive to the aeronautical sectors, to name a few. These engineers know hydrogen very well. So well that they have been able to develop their own fuel cell. A model that is three years ahead of the competition. It should be noted that, of the 27 patents filed by the company, 16 of them concern the fuel cell.

Hopium’s flexibility and small size mean that its technology can be adapted to the constraints of markets such as buses, trucks and boats. That’s where the needs are today and there are few suppliers who can meet demand with a modular fuel cell. During the interview, we have learnt that stationary solutions are also being developed, due to the increasingly high demand in this area. To sum up, many manufacturers are in contact with Hopium… except in the automotive sector. For the moment at least!

Will the Machina be followed by a Baby Hopium?

Another important piece of information is that the car project has not been abandoned. The company’s ambition remains to develop a hydrogen-powered car (the Machina vision), a sports sedan in the mid-luxury category. On board, we will find a compact 200 kW fuel cell, which will make it possible to travel 1,000 km thanks to the storage of 9 to 9.5 kg of hydrogen. Beyond the Machina, the brand is aiming to offer smaller and therefore more affordable vehicles. This approach is reminiscent of Tesla’s, which has been, from the start, an inspiration for Olivier Lombard.

In conclusion, Hopium’s engineers are willing to defend the validity of their technology and thus silence the particularly harsh negative comments from which the brand is suffering on social networks.

As for the CEO, Sylvain Laurent, he is confident for the future. He also thanked the Normandy region for their support.

You can watch the interview on Youtube now (with subtitles).

Do you want to learn more about Hopium? You can read our latest article about the company here

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King 

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About the author

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Logan King

After an unusual career (3 years in the French army followed by a 3-year degree in Applied Foreign Languages), it was my passion for environmental issues that finally caught up with me and led me to join Seiya Consulting and H2 Today in June 2022. First as an end-of-study internship, then as Marketing & Communication Manager and translator at Hydrogen Today.

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