Barely launched, the adventure of Hopium, the French manufacturer of hydrogen electric cars, is already looking for a second wind. Faced with the accelerated pace of its spending, the lack of turnover – its first model, the Machina, is not expected before 2025 – and the sudden reluctance of the markets, the brand, which dreams of being a Tesla of hydrogen, must urgently review its roadmap.
Hopium, which recorded a loss of 9.5 million euros in the first half of 2022 and whose share price fell from 28 euros to 4.70 euros in eighteen months, will separate from around thirty its 142 employees and go in search of new financing.
The company, which in December 2022 appointed Sylvain Laurent, who came from Dassault Systèmes, to the post of general manager – the company had inducted Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, former transport minister, as chairman of its board last year. of directors – says it is entering a phase of rebalancing. Its leaders recognize that expenses, in particular the payroll, have grown too quickly and that the company has not obtained the financing it expected. Hopium, which has already raised nearly 70 million euros, estimates that it will need to mobilize 200 million euros in the next two to three years.
The manufacturer says it is open to the arrival of new industrial partners to which it could “to lean back”. It is also counting on aid from the Normandy region – programmed in Douains (Eure), the construction of a factory pompously called “the factory of the future” is not in question – and on that of the State, which plans to invest 9 billion euros in the hydrogen sector by 2030.
At the same time, Hopium’s industrial strategy will evolve. It is no longer a question of sticking to the only production of the Machina, a luxury sedan with a power of 500 horsepower and a range of 1,000 kilometers, which should be invoiced 120,000 euros. The company intends to develop the fuel cell – capable of producing electricity from the hydrogen on board the car – that it has developed.
This could be marketed or produced under license for car manufacturers, heavy goods vehicles, light commercial vehicles, buses, or even railway equipment. The start-up, which claims to have “two years ahead of its competitors”does not exclude that its fuel cell can generate income from 2024, despite the very active competition from major manufacturers and equipment manufacturers that will have to be faced.
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