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Morocco Unveils First Moroccan Car Brand, Hydrogen Vehicle Prototype

Rabat – Neo Motors CEO Nassim Belkhayat and NamX President Faouzi Annajah presented a model of the first Moroccan car brand and a hydrogen-powered vehicle prototype to King Mohammed VI during a ceremony on Monday at the Royal Palace in Rabat.

The projects, developed by Moroccan entrepreneurs, are a significant milestone for the country and will strengthen the “Made In Morocco” label and establish the country as a competitive hub for automotive production.

During the presentation, the King examined the model from the “Neo Motors” car, a company owned by Moroccan capital, as well as the prototype of the hydrogen vehicle created by NamX, called the Hydrogen Utility Vehicle (HUV). 

Neo Motors is currently in the process of opening an industrial complex in Ain Aouda, located in the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra Region. The plan is dedicated to manufacturing vehicles for both the local market and for export. 

The plant is projected to have an annual production capacity of 27,000 units. It was constructed under a budget of MAD 156 million ($15 million) and is expected to create 580 jobs.

In February 2023, the National Agency for Road Safety granted final approval for Neo Motors’ first vehicle. The company launched pre-production, with the plant’s inauguration scheduled for June 2023.

As for NamX’s hydrogen-powered vehicle, the car was designed in collaboration with Italian design office and coachbuilder Pininfarina. The interior design of the vehicle is Moroccan.

The HUV model will be equipped with a central hydrogen tank, complemented by six removable capsules to deliver a high driving range and facilitate quick hydrogen refueling in a few minutes.

On the sidelines of the ceremony, King Mohammed VI honored Nassim Belkhayat and Annajah  with the Wissam Al Kafaa Al Fikria Award.

Faouzi Annajah is a Morocco-French businessman who co-created the world’s first car partially powered by a patented removable hydrogen tank system.

NamX’s patented technology consists of a fixed hydrogen tank and six removable capsules. 

Set to be released in 2025, NamX responds to the rising demand for hydrogen and hybrid cars amid an increasingly prevailing shift towards clean energy sources and decarbonization worldwide. 

As for Nassim Belkhayat, the Moroccan entrepreneur created Neo Motors, the first 100% Moroccan car company, in 2018.

Read Also: ‘Neo’: Morocco-Made Vehicle Undergoes Successful Testings

Morocco’s automotive sector

Morocco is currently the largest car manufacturer in Africa. Over the first three months of 2023, exports from Morocco’s automotive industry reached X (MAD 33.9 billion), marking an impressive 44% year-on-year increase.  

While the automotive sector continues to exceed growth expectations, the country is working to transition to electric car manufacturing to maintain its strong manufacturing position in the global transition to a greener economy.

In September 2022, the country unveiled an ambitious industrial plan aiming to scale up electric car production capacity within two years.

Under the plan, the country’s electric car production is set to reach 100,000 units annually in the span of two to three years, double the current production input.

The ambitious production target is achievable in light of the current industrial capabilities without factoring in the possibility of attracting foreign investment in the future.

Morocco’s ambition to emerge as a hub for electric car production is further consolidated by the country’s significant capacity in the field of green hydrogen production.

Studies are increasingly pointing to the country’s potential in the production of green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is currently considered the best green replacement for oil. As the world transitions to a greener economy, demand for green hydrogen is expected to grow at an exponential rate.

A January report from the European Conservatives indicated that Europe is already planning substantial investment budgets into green hydrogen and solar panels in Morocco, Egypt, and southern Africa.

According to the report, the European Investment Bank estimates the value of Africa’s green hydrogen production capacity at a 1 trillion-euro investment. 

The continent is expected to reach an annual green hydrogen production capacity of 50 million tonnes by 2035 at a highly competitive price of or below $2 per kilogram.

Source : Morocco World News