The Afro-European start-up NamX has released more details about its first car, the HUV. It appears that the automaker is joining the league of combustion-engined hydrogen cars, as the driveline of HUV features a roaring V8. We didn’t see that one coming.
All passenger cars on hydrogen today use a fuel cell to make the most of the hydrogen stored in tanks. But NamX has turned to a 6.2 V8 driving the rear wheels by burning the hydrogen in its interchangeable capsule tanks. It’s a principle comparable to burning compressed natural gas in a combustion engine, and it keeps the spirit of traditional driving alive in a zero-emission fashion.
Up to 550 PS
When the Pininfara-styled SUV hits the showroom, planned for the beginning of 2026, it could be the first commercially available passenger car with a hydrogen combustion engine.
Unveiled as a concept half a year ago, NamX released details on its firstborn. It will be named HUV for Hydrogen Utility Vehicle and made available in two editions. The base version GT develops 300 PS while the tougher one, GTH, ups the stakes to 550 PS. The performance figures were already released for the 0-100 km/h chronos: 6.4 seconds in the case of the GT and down to 4.3 seconds for the more muscular HUV.
Hydrogen by subscription
Though a contender in the premium segment, the projected prices remain reasonable compared to battery-powered models. The GT would be made available for €75 000 while the purchase price for the GTH would be raised to € 95,000.
Not only the driveline but also the storage of the energy is unique. Six interchangeable hydrogen capsules supplement a fixed hydrogen tank at the back of the vehicle. These aim to solve the problem with the limited forecourt infrastructure on European roads. Customers will receive these capsules by home delivery via a subscription formula, while NamX mentions that these can also be implemented for different purposes.
The burning of gaseous hydrogen in combustion engines isn’t an innovation. Toyota uses the formula for eco-responsible racing in Japan. At the same time, BMW pioneered the technology in the Hydrogen 7 back in 2005, which was produced in a limited run, after which the Bavarian brand switched to a fuel cell in the current iX5 Hydrogen.
The technology depends on hard-to-scale green hydrogen to meet its emission credentials. At the same time, a combustion engine is never truly emission-free as it always burns a small amount of lubricants. The production of green hydrogen isn’t considered energy-savvy today, and converting the energy carrier in a combustion engine (20%) fails to compete with the efficiency of a fuel cell (60%). But as a unique selling proposition, NamX does hit a nail.