The Afro-European startup NAMX has presented a fuel cell SUV designed by Pininfarina due for market launch in 2025. The highlight of the car, called HUV, lies in its hydrogen storage. NAMX’s patented technology combines a fixed hydrogen tank and six removable capsules as secondary tanks.
These tanks were of primary concern also to Pininfarina, who had to design “from the back to the front,” as a glossy brochure informs. The Italian design house ensured the tanks’ integration into the vehicle. Drivers will be able to pull the tanks out of the rear, at least pictures seem to suggest as much.
Other data remains scarce. Looking at the photos again, the tanks appear the size of a long violin case, or an estimated 60 centimetres long and comparably slim. How much hydrogen such a capsule contains and how much extra range all six capsules may unlock is unclear from the announcement. There is also no further information on the fuel cell installed.
However, the startup promises a range of up to 800 kilometres. Given that fuel cell cars like the Mirai and Nexo realistically consume around one kilogram of hydrogen per 100 kilometres, it is likely that the HUV will carry about eight kilograms for 800 kilometres – and not 48 kilograms in the six capsules alone as other media suggested. NAMX also plans to establish a distribution network for its removable tanks, which will comprise CapX stores, according to NamX’s LinkedIn page.
The development is set to start next year – an ambitious timeline since we have seen only renderings so far. Still, NAMX delivered some more data. There will be an entry-level rear-wheel-drive version with 224 kW of power, a top speed of 200 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.5 seconds. The all-wheel-drive HUV reaches 410 kW, a top speed of 250 km/h capped at 200 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.
Beyond that, Pininfarina reveals that it worked with NAMX to ensure that the HUV is a “next-generation” vehicle yet in touch with the past.
“Fascinated by science fiction, [NAMX Co-founder] Thomas de Lussac chose to give the vehicle’s shape the cutting edge of the coming era,” the company writes.
The most striking design feature is the “X” shaped into the chassis.
The price range is said to be between 65,000 and 95,000 euros, and NamX has opened pre-sales online.
The startup is being led by a group of automotive industry veterans with experience at companies like Matra, Renault, and more. Development of the HUV is set to begin in 2023, and NAMX will make its physical debut at the Paris Auto Show this autumn.
Additional reporting by Sebastian Schaal.
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