The next version of the acclaimed Alpine A110 will be all electric and developed with Lotus, it has been confirmed. The British sportscar brand and Alpine owner Renault are reviving an old collaboration in order to develop the new EV sports car.
It’s one of a number of headlines – others are confirmation of a reinvented electric Renault 5 and an Alpine hot hatch and SUV – to come out today as key elements of Groupe Renault’s “Renaulution” plan to reinvent itself as a more upmarket brand with aggressive new electrification strategy.
The signing of a memorandum of understanding to develop the A110s battery-electric successor with Chinese-owned Lotus reflects Alpine’s new position at centre-stage of all the French giant’s performance activities. Renault Sport road cars and racing cars including the Formula 1 team will now all come under the wider Alpine banner.
Enthusiasts will welcome news that the A110, successfully revived three years ago as the first new Alpine since 1995, is to have a successor. The agreement says Alpine and Lotus teams will collaborate on the engineering, design and development of the car, both France and the UK.
Alpine and Lotus will also explore combining their engineering expertise, including a collaboration to leverage Alpine’s motorsport platform covering Formula 1, Formula E and endurance racing.
Lotus Cars CEO Phil Popham said the tie-up was the first step in what was set to be a “hugely rewarding collaboration between our iconic brands.”
Popham went on: “Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sportscars. It is a natural fit in many ways and the co-development of an EV sportscar is hugely exciting for our companies, our fans and customers around the world.”
The tie-up recalls Lotus-Renault collaborations of the past that began with a Renault engine in the Lotus Europa of the 1970s. In a quirk of fate it is also interesting to recall that Alpine’s renaissance was initially in collaboration with Caterham Cars. That didn’t work out but it didn’t stop Renault backing a new A110 that has gone on since launch to garner plaudits all around the world.
Little more is known about the new electric A110 at this stage except that it will be part of what Alpine calls its 100 per cent electric line-up. It has long been known that Lotus is working on an electric sportscar as more affordable foil to the Evija halo model, suggesting synergies with an Alpine version are likely.
Alpine is not stopping at sportscars. Its “electric dream garage” also includes a 100 per cent electric B-segment hot hatch based on the new CMF-B EV platform developed with Nissan. There will also be an electric Alpine SUV: a performance sports crossover based on a larger version of the same EV platform.
“We’ll be on the tracks and on the roads, authentic and high-tech, disruptive and passionate,” says new Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.
“We’re putting F1 at the heart of our business, leveraging our in-house expertise and best-in-class partners such as Lotus to inject our cars with leading-edge performance, technology and motorisation. This collaboration along with our transformation mark the beginning of a new era in which we’ll be taking the Alpine name and line-up to the future.”
Alpine’s expansion is one part of Renault’s reinvention plan under group chief Luca de Meo. Catchily named “Renaulution” it centres on evolving into a technology, service and clean energy brand with an emphasis “on value rather than volume”. By 2025, Renault says it will launch 14 new vehicles and offer the greenest mix of vehicles in Europe.
They will include what has long known to be coming: a reborn Renault 5, archetypal supermini of the 1970s and ‘80s, in the manner of a reborn Fiat 500 or Mini.
First images of the prototype show how it unashamedly goes for “supercinq” looks with its iconic face, yellow highlights and textile roof. They are allied to the modern twists expected of a battery electric car such as a charging point (under the bonnet intake) and light-up logos.
Renault’s Luca de Meo says the electric 5 prototype underlines the ethos of Renault’s new direction as a “vision of modernity anchored in France. We know our soul and our strength lie in our origins. The new R5 is the Nouvelle Vague (new wave): it’s strongly connected to its history, and yet it’s the future, making electric cars popular.”