French and British sports car specialists Alpine and Lotus have announced plans to explore a range of potential collaboration opportunities and joint projects between the two brands – one of which could be an all-electric sports car.
Announced following Alpine parent company Groupe Renault's 'Renaulution' business plan, the iconic sports car brands have confirmed plans to "conduct a comprehensive feasibility study for the joint engineering, design and development" of a new all-electric sports car.
While specific details of the project have yet to be confirmed, it's probable each brand's version of the co-developed electric vehicle (EV) will be designed to slot in above the turbocharged A110 in Alpine's line-up, but below the multi-million-dollar Evija electric hypercar in Lotus's range.
Combining resources from the each of the brands' bases in France and the UK, Alpine and Lotus also announced plans to "explore the development of a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise", with such a collaboration expected to extend to motorsport by leveraging Alpine's Formula One and endurance racing entries.
Above: Alpine's only model currently on sale, the A110.
"The signing of this [memorandum of understanding] 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.
"We are proud to have been selected by Groupe Renault in this collaboration – for our technical expertise and abilities, and our long track record of successful collaborations. Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sports cars which perform as impressively on the road as they do in the motorsports arena", commented Phil Popham, CEO of Lotus Cars.
"It is a natural fit in many ways and the co-development of an EV sports car 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”, he added.
Above: Lotus's first electric vehicle, the Evija hypercar.
Alpine fans will note the upcoming EV isn't the first sports car developed by the French marque as a collaboration, with the brand's only model in the modern era, the mid-engined A110, being the fruit of a joint-development partnership with British sports car company Caterham.
Announced in 2012, the collaboration would soon be canned in 2014, with a falling out over the cars' styling and engineering leading parent company Renault to buy out Caterham's stake in the project, leaving Alpine to finish development on its own.
Given the typical, circa-five-year development time required to develop an all-new sports car, don't expect to see the fruits of Alpine and Lotus's zero-emissions labour until the second half of the decade.