Morocco King Mohamed VI unveiled the country’s first hydrogen car brand and prototype vehicle at a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Rabat on Monday.
Morocco’s MAP news agency reported that the new car, dubbed the Hydrogen Utility Vehicle or HUV, was developed by the first 100% Moroccan-owned car company, Neo Motors, and Turin-based car company, NamX. The NamX president co-created the world’s first car to be partially powered by a patented removable hydrogen tank system. The Italian bodybuilder Pininfarina and helped design the hydrogen prototype.
The CEO of Neo Motors, Nassim Belkhayat, and the president of NamX, Faouzi Annajah, presented the project, which seeks to strengthen The competitiveness of Morocco for automobile production. Morocco is already the largest carmaker in Africa and last September the government committed to doubling its production capacity for electric cars in two years.
The HUV, which will be launched in 2025, responds to the growing global demand for sustainable cars. Unlike electric vehicles, which take hours to charge, hydrogen vehicles can be refueled in a few minutes. In addition to offering longer ranges than their battery-dependent cousins, hydrogen vehicles also tend to be a bit greener.
The MAP agency reported that Neo Motors set up an industrial factory in Ain Aouda, just south of the capital, to make vehicles for the local market and for export. The factory is projected to produce 27,000 cars a year, the agency reported. The project is expected to cost 156 million dirhams ($15.5 million) and create 580 jobs.
The HUV was approved by the Moroccan National Road Safety Agency in February 2023. The company plans to inaugurate the industrial plant in June 2023 and begin marketing the car.
The project will work with the country’s national automotive suppliers.