Alpine engineers reveal exclusive details about future French electric cars

After the presentation of the 100% electric Alpine A290_ β concept car, the news is in full swing around the Dieppe firm and its future. On the occasion of an event bringing together several hundred Alpines near Dieppe a few weeks ago, we were able to discuss with several engineers from the brand who were able to give us several interesting information on certain future products.

It’s moving right now on the side of Alpine. After the presentation of the A290_ β concept car, which we were able to discover from every angle, the news around the French manufacturer intensified. Indeed, we recently learned that the technical partnership between Lotus and Alpine concerning the future electric A110 was already over and that a partnership with the Chinese giant Geely (Volvo, Polestar, Lotus, Zeekr, etc.) was in the study.

As confirmed by the British brand in a press release, after “After more than two years of working on the vision of a future electric-powered sports car, Lotus and Alpine have decided not to pursue joint development of a sports car”. Lotus also added that it was “of a mutual decision taken amicably. »

Alpine A110: the thorny case of the future electric A110

The reasons given are quite opaque, but obviously there were some timing issues between Lotus and Alpine, since the specifications and the development plan for the future electric A110 were slow to freeze.

According to our information and our discussions with several engineers of the mark, Alpine would still believe in the possibility of offering a third generation A110 equipped with a heat engine, something that the structure shared with the Lotus project would not allow. Even though the next-generation A110, which should not arrive before 2026, or even 2027will be above all electric, the French brand hopes to be able to offer an alternative, why not by taking advantage of the flexibility that synthetic fuels will offer in Europe, but also the possibility of supplying a future engine with hydrogen.

The A110 E-ternité concept car announces the future generation of the A110 in electric // Source: Alpine

Alpine does not close any doors, while Lotus, under the bosom of Geely, favors only electric and does not see much interest in developing a multi-energy platform which will only be used by Alpine, especially with the technical constraints that this may present. .

Still, the third-generation A110 project should take longer to arrive. The development of a new platform from a blank sheet will be far too expensive, the brand should thus find a partner, and Luca de Meo, the boss of the Renault group, is currently looking for shareholders. The solution could paradoxically come from Geely (owner of Lotus, Polestar or even Volvo…) with a stake in the capital of the tricolor firm.

In any case, with the arrival of Philippe Krief, the former technical director of Ferrari, at the helm of Alpine engineering, the A110 will certainly not be a discount coupe, whether electric or thermal. .

Alpine A490 and A590: two large electric SUVs developed with Lotus?

As you are surely aware, Alpine has international ambitions. The manufacturer will offer a complete range, with three “large” SUVs and the hope of conquering markets such as China and the United States. Perhaps we have here the real French premium brand ready to impose itself in the world, something that DS has not managed to do for the moment despite its great ambitions.

If the partnership with Lotus took the lead in the wing at the level of the A110, there would still be possibilities regarding future SUVs. Indeed, in its press release, Lotus does not exclude other collaborations with Alpine. ” We will continue to discuss other future opportunities”.

The work will certainly focus on D and E segment SUVs, for China and the USA precisely. Their arrivals are scheduled for 2027 and 2028. Unsurprisingly, these two models should share many elements with the Eletre and the future competitor of the electric Porsche Macan from Lotus.

Alpine A390: a C-segment SUV planned for 2025

Before that, in 2025, there will be a D-segment SUV that will not share elements with Lotus. In effect, it is the synergies of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance that will allow this model to see the light of day. As one of the brand’s engineers told us, this SUV will be based on the CMF-EV platform, and will generally take over the e-4ORCE system from the Nissan Ariya with two electric motors, one on each axle, to a cumulative power greater than 400 hp.

The brand’s teams will obviously work on the dynamic behavior and the ground connections to make their model sportier than the Japanese SUV. The future C-segment GT crossover will be assembled at the manufacturer’s plant in Dieppe from 2025 and will be called A390. The Renault group has just filed a file with the INPI on this subject.

The SUV will not be equipped with the same battery pack as the Nissan Ariya, however. Indeed, it should have a battery with a capacity of approximately 90 kWh which should be manufactured in France, within the Verkor gigafactory which will soon emerge from the ground near Dunkirk.

Alpine A290: the revival of the brand

With three SUVs and an electric sports car, the range will expand. But the next model to come should be the most important and could allow Alpine to aim for profitability by 2026.

The brand therefore recently presented a concept car that uses the codes of Renault’s R5 electric concept, but with more sporty fittings and specific elements such as this driving position with a central position for the driver, something that will obviously not be repeated. on the standard Alpine A290, even if the concept is 85% the final version that we will see arrive in 2025.

The interior of the Alpine A290_ β concept // Source: Alpine

Precisely, concerning this production Alpine A290, we learned a little more about it concerning the rally in which we participated near Dieppe. One of the engineers told us that the car will carry the electric motor of the Renault Mégane E-Tech of 220 hp. It will be installed in the front, which will make it a traction. No four-wheel drive version of 280 hp with an electric motor at the rear is planned for the moment according to our information. This is surprising since it goes against the information obtained by the Argus.

However, our interlocutor told us that it was “technically possible”but that there would not necessarily be room to implement a “large electric motor”. If a 280 hp four-wheel drive version were to see the light of day, it would be with a smaller electrical module that would serve “back-up”. There is no room for the simple and good reason that the engineers have opted for a multi-link rear axlewhether for the electric R5 or the A290. This system will logically allow you to benefit from a good synthesis between dynamism and comfort..

In addition to the power level, the engineers will mainly play on other tables to make their electric city car really sporty. Alpine is obviously working on the weight, which remains the very essence of the “Alpine spirit”, while there will also be a lot of work on the level of the eco-system revolving around the sporting aspect.

The showcar also provides several elements of response, with an ABS that adjusts via 11 positions and three driving modes dedicated to the track offered: “wet”, “dry” and “full”. Modes that will be included in the production model. The A290 will benefit from a Torque Vectoring system, which makes it possible to independently manage the speed of the wheels when cornering, and from a boost mode of a few seconds via the OV (overtake) button, as at Porsche in particular.

Alpine A290_ β // Source: Alpine

Regarding the battery and autonomy, Alpine will be based on the work of Renault around the electric R5. The A290 will have a new accumulator of 52 kWh with NMC cells (nickel-manganese-cobalt), enough to consider a range of around 400 km on a single chargeas on the R5, except that the A290 will have a different “Battery System Management” management.

This new battery pack will be better integrated into the platform, which saves space, but also better contributes to the rigidity of the structure and the reduction of vibrations. The architecture is simplified with the passage of 12 modules, as on the battery of the Zoe, with four large modules allowing a weight reduction of 15 kg. The pack should also be relatively thin, since Renault announces that there will be only one level of modules.

Our colleagues from Argus recently announced a smaller 150 hp version, but the engineers we spoke to did not confirm this hypothesis, Alpine preferring to see first how it goes with the 220 hp version, even if it means offering a smaller later release to lower the base price. A base price that should start around 40,000 euros.

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