It has been a busy day for the Renault Group, whose Alpine unit just signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Lotus.
The two automakers will go on to study multiple areas of cooperation, with a focus on the joint development of a fully-electric sports car, leveraging resources, expertise and available facilities in both the UK as well as France. Unfortunately, no further details about the vehicle were provided.
Could it serve as a direct replacement for the current Alpine A110? Will it be sold as both an Alpine and a Lotus? Will it ride on Lotus’ next-generation Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) architecture, or Renault’s CMF-EV platform? As soon as we know, you’ll know.
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Both companies will also look into the development of a joint services offer, combining their engineering expertise. Another thing being discussed is a collaboration to “leverage” Alpine’s motorsport platform, from Formula One to Formula E and Endurance racing.
“The signing of this MoU with Lotus shows the lean and smart approach we’re implementing as part of the new Alpine brand strategy. Both brands have an amazing legacy and we are most excited to start this work together, from engineering tailored solutions to developing a next-generation EV sports car,” said Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.
“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. 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.”
Meanwhile, his counterpart at Lotus, Phil Popham, added that his company is proud to work with the Renault Group and to share Lotus’ technical expertise and abilities.
“Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sportscars which perform as impressively on the road as they do in the motorsports arena. 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 joint-services element of our agreement will additionally make our engineering expertise available to those wishing to engage our innovations,” added the Lotus CEO.
Quick guessing game
While there are no details at this point, we can safely assume that it will be a small or compact lightweight sports coupe, with a possible dual-motor setup. The term “sports car” is also revealing in its own way, which is why we anticipate something the size of an A110 or Evora.
Less of a guess is the fact that it will almost certainly feature an automatic “transmission”, seen as how it will be fully electric. So to all you purists out there, forget about changing gears yourselves.
Ultimately, would you rather this EV sports car look and behave more like a Lotus or an Alpine? We know which way we’re leaning.