Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister of Transport, turns to the private sector and… hydrogen

Alexander Boero

May 16, 2022 at 2:15 p.m.


Djebbari © Obatala-photography /

© Obatala-photography /

The Minister of Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, will join the French start-up Hopium, which is developing a luxury hydrogen sedan.

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Delegate in charge of Transport for almost three years, will not continue the adventure alongside Emmanuel Macron, since the French hydrogen car manufacturer Hopium announced on Monday the arrival of the former Member of Parliament on its Board of Directors.

Jean-Baptiste Djebarri, like Cédric O, is on the private road

He could have embraced a career as a TikTokeur, he who has 1.2 million subscribers on the social network of short videos, or continued his adventure in politics, but obviously Jean-Baptiste Djebbari gave in to the sirens of the private sector.

On Monday, the manufacturer Hopium announced that it had proposed the appointment of Jean-Baptiste Djebarri to its board of directors, specifying that this will be ” subject to the approval of the next general meeting of the company, which will take place on June 20, 2022, the day after the legislative elections. The Minister will thus follow the path of the Secretary of State in charge of Digital, Cédric O, who will also turn to the private sector.

The announcement, which comes during a reshuffle and a few days or hours before the appointment of a new government, is still debated, since Jean-Baptiste Djebbari is still officially Jean Castex’s Minister of Transport, at the time publication of the Hopium press release. However, the legal obligation for the company to publish a notice 35 days before the general meeting seems to have shaken things up.

Hopium, the future French flagship of hydrogen?

So where is Jean-Baptiste Djebbari heading, by joining Hopium? The start-up, founded in 2019 by the former and youngest winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Olivier Lombard, is in the process of finalizing its 100% hydrogen luxury sedan, called “Machina”, with a range of 1000 km rechargeable in a few minutes, and with a power of 500 horsepower.

Its CEO and founder, Olivier Lombard, speaks of Hopium as a ” formidable French industrial adventure “, considering in passing that the arrival of Jean-Baptiste Djebbari within its board of directors” is a major step in the development of the company.

Hopium Machina © Hopium

La Machina (© Hopium)

Hopium, which has designed its own fuel cell, has raised more than 7 million euros since 2019. Its industrialization and marketing are not planned, at best, until 2025. 1000 pre-orders have nevertheless been validated by the company .

Enlisting Djebbari could make it easier for the company to seduce the public authorities, in particular to install charging stations in France, when there are only a few dozen today.

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