Morocco’s King Mohammed VI unveiled the country’s first car brand and hydrogen vehicle prototype in a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Rabat 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 the Paris-based car company NamX. NamX's president co-created the world’s first car that is partially powered by a patented removable hydrogen tank system. The Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina helped design the hydrogen prototype.
Neo Motors CEO Nassim Belkhayat and NamX President Faouzi Annajah presented the project, which looks to strengthen Morocco’s competitiveness for automotive production. Morocco is already Africa’s largest car manufacturer and last September the government pledged to double its electric car production capacity within two years.
The HUV, due to be released in 2025, responds to the rising global demand for sustainable cars. Unlike electric vehicles, which take hours to charge, hydrogen vehicles can be refueled in a few minutes. As well as offering greater ranges than their battery-reliant cousins, hydrogen vehicles also tend to be slightly more environmentally friendly.
The MAP agency reported that Neo Motors set up an industrial factory in Ain Aouda, just south of the capital, to manufacture 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 Morocco’s National Agency for Road Safety in February 2023. The company plans to inaugurate the industrial factory in June 2023 and begin marketing for the car.
The project will work with the country's domestic automotive suppliers.