Niche performance automakers Lotus Cars and Renault Group subsidiary Alpine have announced that after two years, they are no long co-developing an all-electric sports coupe that was slotted to replace the combustion-dependent Alpine A110. Here’s the latest.
Let’s start with Alpine. The automaker’s history dates back to the 1950s, working consistently with fellow French company Renault until the latter wholly-acquired it in the early 1970s. For decades, the brand focused primarily on branded competition cars for Renault before eventually ceasing production in 1995.
In 2017, however, infamous Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn announced the Alpine badge would officially be revived alongside its renowned A110 model. Ghosn would be ousted, but his plans for Alpine would continue on without him.
The marque was spun out into its own business unit in 2021 and signed a memorandum of understanding with Lotus Cars to develop EVs – including an all-electric replacement for the A110. While we’ve heard plenty of EV news from Lotus and even Alpine parent company Renault, we haven’t seen much progress in the co-development of a Lotus/Alpine sports coupe as promised.
Now we’ve learned those two partners are abandoning the project, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re done collaborating.
Lotus and Alpine nix sports car plans, but remain friends
According to an email from Lotus sent to Automotive News Europe on Monday, the automaker has decided to exit the join development of an electric sports car with Alpine, adding it is a “mutual decision reached amicably.”
This decision follows news out of Bloomberg last week that Renault is considering using its own internal technology to build Alpine brand EVs, rather than rely on Lotus and its majority owner, Geely. Lotus said otherwise, to an extent, in Monday’s statement, leaving the door open for “other opportunities” in the future.
With the support of Renault and the optimism from Lotus (at least publicly), Alpine has two large automotive innovators in contacts list, but the latter still makes a lot of sense as a potential suitor. In January of this year, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi shared that the US market is a serious target and the company intends to bring two new electric SUVs to the states by 2027 or 2028.
Rossi described the models as a midsize SUV and an even larger option, positioned similarly to the the Porsche Macan and Cayenne Coupe.
If Alpine is trying to compete with Porsche SUVs and make them electric, it might want to consider talking to Lotus. The company has already developed the Eletre SUV and has a D-segment SUV in the pipeline for 2025. Not to mention it’s openly looking for partners to scale its 800V architecture and build additional EVs.
Alpine’s immediate focus will be on delivering the Renault 5 Alpine, described as a “hot hatch” version of the upcoming 5 EV from Renault, in 2024. The automaker has also promised a bespoke, all-electric compact SUV in 2025, tentatively called the GT.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.