It is a high-end, Norman and hydrogen car

Ideally, 20,000 cars will be assembled there per year. In Douains, in Normandybetween Evreux and Vernon, a new site of 35 hectares is advertised to assemble cars under the Hopium badge. The activity must begin early 2025 for this startup which dreams of becoming a car manufacturer of hydrogen cars – competitor of the 100% electric models of Tesla, Nio and Lucid Motors. Until now, Hopium had not yet said anything about the location of its factories.

The general public had only heard of this company through the arrival of former transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari on board. A very good advertisement for Hopium (although this did not prevent some from making it a controversy), while the former minister rose in popularity on the networks for his various very trendy TikTok. The automotive startup charmed him when it launched its first rolling concept car last June.

In a statement, Hopium CEO and former hydrogen car driver Olivier Lombard said: “Hopium, by selecting this site for the installation of its state-of-the-art infrastructure, is taking a decisive new step in its roadmap which should lead to the marketing of the first Hopium Māchina models at the end of 2025”.

The region is strategic land for hydrogen as Air Liquide plans to set up a production site there. ArianeGroup is present in the region with a hydrogen research activity as well. Not enough to compete for Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Occitanie and Île-de-France, which were nevertheless selected among the contenders to host this new industrial site where 1500 jobs could be created.

Hopium car France

© Hopium

Financing a car manufacturer, Hopium’s plan

The car to be manufactured here in Normandy will certainly not be 100% Norman. It will be more of an assembly plant, with parts coming from other geographical areas. But Hopium does not yet reveal any details on this subject. We only have access to promises in terms of power and autonomy: 500 maximum horsepower and 1000 kilometers on a single tankfor this high-end sedan 5 meters long. Everything exudes modernity and Hopium has surrounded itself with big names for style, such as designer Félix Godard, who worked for Porsche and Lucid Motors.

Comment finance such a project? Without making too much noise, Hopium has nevertheless made good progress in its search for investors in 2022 and an agreement with the investment company LDA Capital could allow it to be injected. 50 million euros over 3 years. The contract would involve the creation of Hopium shares during this same period, which LDA Capital would then have to resell on the market (so that LDA Capital would not become the owner).

Other sources of financing will obviously be necessary to be able to envisage the launch of a production. Creating a car manufacturer from scratch in 2022 is a titanic project, faced with the difficulties of profitability, meeting deadlines, and the challenge of being able to stand out while respecting legal standards (particularly on the safety part). Hopium management has indicated that it will come back to these details later. Certainly an announcement of a new fundraiser would be in the pipeline.

The price of the model will not be very accessible in all cases. It would be around the 120 000 euros.

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