Namx plans hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle with swappable tanks

17 May 2022


Automotive startup Namx has unveiled its first model, the HUV. Designed by Pininfarina, the vehicle is powered by hydrogen and features a removable tank system, which the carmaker says makes the fuel ‘widely available’.

The HUV is part of a large-scale technological project to bring together mobility and environmental preservation through the use of green hydrogen. The company believes it could offer new ways of providing hydrogen to end customers and refuelling flexibility, helping greening mobility.

‘Our belief and our conviction is to promote green hydrogen, an energy that does not create carbon dioxide as it comes from renewable sources,’ said Faouzi Annajah, founder and president of NamX. ‘Hydrogen fuel cells are an energy capable of filling up in four minutes and powering journeys of more than 800km, with a fuel-cell battery that is 10 times smaller than that of traditional electric vehicles. Our mission is to generalise the use of green hydrogen in the vehicles that we produce.’

Swappable hydrogen fuel tanks

hydrogen tank
Source: Namx

The car features a primary fixed hydrogen tank, and six smaller ‘capsules’ that can be easily swapped in seconds. This means there are two ways to fill the car, via the normal refuelling process, or by purchasing and changing capsules at stores. Namx is expected to give more details on its retail plans during the car’s official unveiling at the Paris Motor Show later this year.

Refuelling the vehicle from a pump also fills empty canisters, meaning drivers can take these out and store them safely for use another time. As the hydrogen fuelling infrastructure is still in its infancy in Europe, this may be a good solution to ensure continued use of fuel-cell vehicles.

The capsules weigh around 8kg and were included in Pininfarina’s design brief. At the preview event held in Italy, they were described as a looking more like ‘high-end luggage’ than a fuel capsule.

Bringing green-hydrogen mobility to market

Namx is expected to introduce two versions of the HUV. There will be an entry-level rear-wheel drive version with 300hp, featuring a top speed of 200kph, and will accelerate from 0-100kph in 6.5 seconds.

Meanwhile, a four-wheel drive GTH version will have 550hp, capable of reaching a top speed of 250kph, with a 0-100kph of 4.5 seconds. The HUV will be marketed from Q4 2025 with a price range of between €65,000 and €95,000, depending on the options selected.

As the automotive industry gets to grips with electrification, there are varying views on the potential for hydrogen in the passenger-car market. Some carmakers believe the technology offers a complimentary option to electric vehicles, while others intend to concentrate their development programmes purely on battery-electric vehicles.

This has opened an opportunity for hydrogen startups to enter the market, all hoping to follow the lead of Tesla, which was a pioneer in the mass marketing of EVs. Namx is one of these companies and is planning to come to market with a new vision of hydrogen fuel-cell technology.