The Hopium Māchina is not just a new generation of luxury car. It’s the world’s first zero-emission, hydrogen-powered high-end car – and a tangible demonstration of where the mobility industry is heading.
Behind this technological marvel is French racing driver Olivier Lombard, the youngest winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race and founder and CEO of automotive startup Hopium. The company is on a mission to develop and commercialize hydrogen powered “green” cars from the ground up, and make this disruptive technology available globally.
“We have a vision to pioneer a new kind of vehicle intended to address the major environmental challenges of our era,” Lombard said. “The best sustainability initiatives are when environment, society and business work together. Hydrogen power is a truly viable solution for the automobile of tomorrow. It offers many advantages as we seek out zero-emission mobility solutions. Because this energy is produced by a chemical reaction, it’s one of the cleanest options available.”
Under the body of the sleek Hopium Māchina, the proprietary fuel cell system converts hydrogen into electric power, emitting only water. It will deliver over 500 brake horsepower, allowing the vehicle to reach a top speed of 230 kilometers per hour and a range of 1,000 kilometers on a single tank, which takes just three minutes to refuel.
“We’re starting from scratch,” Lombard said. “We have an amazing opportunity to really think about how to improve the way we produce the car and manage it in a more environmentally friendly way throughout its lifecycle. We needed an agile solution with advanced functionalities to quickly experiment with complex concepts such as embedded electronics and optimized storage volume.”
Hopium is developing the Māchina and its fuel cell system in house, using the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud to support all its design, engineering, prototyping, and manufacturing capabilities.
“With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud, we have the right technology system behind us to deliver the power, capacity, resilience and efficiency we need to bring the Māchina to market,” Lombard said.
Launching a vehicle like the Māchina not only takes a bold vision. As the vehicle progresses through the development stages, Hopium must be able to manage increasing complexity across its processes and keep track of everything going on. The need to build a true collaborative environment led the company to adopt the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud.
“We need full traceability throughout the value chain,” Lombard said. “The 3DEXPERIENCE platform will help us achieve that.”
“The objective was to be able to design the Māchina prototypes rapidly and have a collaboration environment so all Hopium engineers could access the same 3D models,” added Anne-Perrine Porte, head of systems methodology and tools at Hopium. “The ‘on cloud’ solution allowed a quick start for a small company like us.”
The out of the box functionality and concurrent design and engineering capabilities within the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud give Hopium all the tools it needs to bring its concept to life.
“When you are a startup, you have so many decisions to make about how exactly you’re going to develop your idea and which software you’re going to use,” Lombard said. “The big advantage for us with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud is we can go fast and not lose time – we can all work together on the common platform and quickly share updates and modifications. It’s a great tool for where we are and where we’re heading. And access to the platform is very easy from wherever you are, which is a big help.”
With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform on cloud, we have the right technology system behind us to deliver the power, capacity, resilience and efficiency we need to bring the Māchina to market.
Hopium successfully developed its first working prototype in record time.
“By fully integrating all our activities on 3DEXPERIENCE, our team was able to work securely at any time, from anywhere, and create our first prototype in only eight months,” Lombard said.
This impressive feat of engineering was the result of the company’s ability to bring together multiple disciplines and refine the vehicle’s design and systems in the virtual world before building a physical version.
“The key is speed and being able to access the data, share it and have the possibility to make live modifications on the 3D model has made such a difference,” Lombard said.
Using CATIA on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, Hopium discovered it could frog leap earlier physical prototyping stages and move to a more advanced prototype within a much faster time frame.
“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform helped us take risks and replace some physical prototyping steps by using modeling, simulations and validating concepts on a virtual model,” Porte said. “We accelerated our development and were able to go straight to producing an advanced prototype.”
As ambitious as the Māchina is, Olivier Lombard is making it happen by involving the right people. Hopium brings together a team of leading partners and experts at the forefront of innovation in the hydrogen fuel cell and automotive engineering sectors. Just as a racing team rallies together towards a common goal, so does Hopium as it brings its innovative vehicle to market.
"In racing, we’re used to working as a collective to achieve our objective and we have that same mentality within our company,” Lombard said. “Being able to aggregate everyone involved in the project within a common 3D environment keeps us heading in the same direction.”
Having this visibility has been key to keeping product development on track.
“The collaborative nature of the platform was a real gain when it came to sharing the 3D model of the vehicle between engineering and management for fast approval,” Porte said. “Model-based systems engineering and specification processes can be supported by the platform with traceability down to the part. The platform enables them to work on a shared and up to date set of consistent data. Engineers can work twice as fast compared to a more traditional development approach.”
The ability to share 3D models with non-technical users has been beneficial too, allowing them to easily access the latest model and view it via an intuitive user interface.
“Anyone in the team, even if they’re a non-CAD user, can quickly load the 3D model on their office computer and get the information they need,” Porte said. “Users have excellent feedback on the 3D model; the capability for everyone – managers, leaders and engineers – to have access to the latest vehicle release is a real asset.”
Hopium is now progressing to the next stages in the product development lifecycle and knows it can rely on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform with ENOVIA to support the seamless transition from engineering to production, handling everything from change to configuration management. This continuous data flow is crucial for complying with industry regulations. “We are architecting our engineering and manufacturing together to avoid silos,” Porte said. “We are also integrating the steps required to comply with industry regulations into our processes. An integrated platform with enhanced traceability will help us demonstrate proof of compliance.”
Now the 3DEXPERIENCE platform serves as the backbone for all its product development processes, Hopium looks forward to achieving even greater synergy across the value chain.
“We plan to use the platform as a core referential for engineering and manufacturing and we need to set up the workflows to match Hopium’s development and production processes,” Porte said. “We also plan to integrate reviews and validation workflows to share and release more efficiently and break down more silos.”
It’s an exciting time for the company and the wider automotive industry.
“In the next few years, we’ll see lots of game changing developments coming to fruition in our industry: new cockpits, new designs, new energy, and more transparency,” Lombard said. “Having a solid reference to show the market what’s possible, that’s the role we have to play in bringing to market the Māchina. Our goal is to democratize hydrogen and the Māchina will show the industry how to do it.”
Drawing its values from the DNA of motor racing, Hopium imagines the first high-end vehicle powered by hydrogen. True technological feat, Hopium Māchina promises a neutral carbon footprint, exceptional autonomy and a record-breaking filling time.
For more information: www.hopium.com